She's the face of Afghan morning news. Here's what her career looks like under Taliban rule.

KABUL Yalda Ali's mere appearance at work is a defiance act.
Ali, 25, hosts TOLO TV's "Good Morning" and is one of a small number of female journalists who remain in Kabul after the Taliban took power. The remaining journalists must now strike a difficult balance, appearing in public and on airwaves to report their stories without angering their militant leaders.

She said that she has to be careful about what I say, my appearance, and how I act around men. We don't know if freedom of speech is available to us... so we need to make sure the Taliban don't get too crazy and cause harm.

Richard Engel is on Assignment - Afghanistan: Graveyard of Empires will air this Sunday, September 19, at 10 p.m. ET on MSNBC.

Yalda is only in her second week as an anchor at this job, having been there since her predecessor left Afghanistan after tens to thousands fled the country.

Image: Yalda Ali (NBC News)

Afghan journalists now face uncertain futures after two decades of freedom-of-expression laws. Some have fled, while others were beaten simply for their work. This is even more dangerous for women who must navigate the Taliban government's restrictions on their ability to do certain things.

The Taliban government that was overthrown in 2001 by U.S.-backed troops, barred women from going to school, working and leaving their homes without male escorts. They were required to wear full-length burqas and could not be seen on television or heard on the radio.

Twenty-five years later, the Taliban claim they have improved.

The Taliban-run education ministry demanded that boys in grades 7-12 return to school on Saturday with their male teachers. There was no mention of girls returning to school.

In the same building that housed the Women's Affairs Ministry, the country's rulers set up a ministry to promote virtue and prevent vice.

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Human Rights Watch reports that security forces responded violently to women's protests earlier in the month for equal rights. NBC News published video footage showing female protesters being whipped in Kabul by a Taliban fighter.

Last week, militants declared that protests would be banned unless they were approved in advance. Journalists claimed that they had been told by the militants that covering unapproved protests was also illegal.

Patricia Gossman is an associate director of the Asia division at Human Rights Watch. She said that the Taliban have never accepted being held accountable by the media or the public.

She stated that there is no tolerance for any form of dissent, and any form of dissent will face brutal treatment.

Meanwhile, the number and quality of Afghan women journalists has declined.

Reporters Without Borders, a non-profit group warning women journalists about the imminent disappearance of the capital, warned Aug. 31.

According to a survey conducted by the Center for the Protection of Afghan Women Journalists and the group, around 700 women journalists worked in Kabul last year. Reporters Without Borders found that less than 100 women were working as journalists in Kabul's private radio and TV stations.

The picture outside Kabul is even more stark. According to the group, most women journalists were forced to quit the provinces where nearly all private media outlets stopped operating after Taliban forces advanced.

State-run broadcasts continue to show signs of Taliban power.

It takes courage to air Ali, especially considering TOLO TV's history dealing with the Taliban.

Seven people were killed in an attack on TOLO TV employees in 2016. The militants claimed responsibility.

Ali pushes boundaries in many other ways, too.

Although she still wears make-up, it is less than ever before. She also continues to smile, even though she dresses more conservatively.

She said that even though I feel afraid in these situations, I still smile when I'm in front of the camera. One smile can lift a nation's spirits for a single day.

Marc Smith, Richard Engel and Ahmed Mengli reported in Kabul. Saphora Smith reported in London.