The reports from Kabul are probably more reassuring to those unfamiliar with this history. The Taliban has once again declared a general amnesty, and asked everyone to show up for work in the morning and prepare to unite behind a Taliban government that will rule according to Islamic law—but perhaps, the group has suggested, not in the harsh manner that made it infamous during its rule from 1996 to 2001. Women can continue their education so long as they wear the hijab, and the Taliban will guarantee human rights and freedoms of speech and expression, it said, so long as they comply with sharia. (Spoiler: The Taliban does not believe they do.) A Taliban spokesperson consented to an interview with a female television presenter whose face was visible.
During the Taliban’s previous regime, it discouraged depiction of the human form, and would certainly not have countenanced the broadcast of a woman’s face to the entire world.