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Afghanistan against 'degrading' use of women in adverts

KABUL: Afghanistan on Monday launched a drive against female models being used “as decoration” in advertising campaigns, saying some commercials spread immorality among young people in the conservative Muslim nation.

Billboards and television advertisements selling everything from mobile phones to insurance have sprung up since the fall of the Taliban regime in 2001 as the country opened up to international trade and modern marketing.

Many adverts feature young women to entice consumers, but the Afghan government said that female models should not be exploited for commercial gain.

“All commercials in which women are used as decoration and fashion, and as a tool to earn money and an image, are in fact degrading the position of Afghan women,” a statement from the ministry of information and culture said.

“We ask all media to avoid broadcasting all commercials that can promote cultural destruction, and spread immorality and can lead our youths’ minds to immoralities.”

Under the Taliban’s 1996-2001 rule, Afghanistan was cut off from almost all western influences, television was banned and women were not allowed outside the home unless wearing an all-encompassing burqa.

President Ashraf Ghani, who was inaugurated in September, has vowed to improve the status of women in the country, which remains a strictly patriarchal society. -AFP

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