The iconic television show Sesame Street in Afghanistan is looking to challenge gender stereotypes, but subtly. In its Afghan version – Baghch-e-Simsim – the show for preschoolers has introduced a new character, four-year-old Zeerak, who will play brother to the six-year-old Zari, who made her debut on the show last year.

“He loves to go to school, help his sister, respect his sister...which indirectly can teach the kids to love their sisters,” said Massood Sanjer, head of Tolo TV that airs the muppet show in Afghanistan, talking about the bespectacled Zeerak.

Sesame Street has often made news for introducing diverse characters in an effort to be more inclusive. Earlier this year, it was lauded for introducing a character with autism.