Monday, July 15, 2024

Afghan woman news anchor barred from work after Taliban takeover

news anchor

Kabul, August 19: An Afghan woman journalist has said she was barred from working at her TV station after the Taliban took control of the country, and pleaded for help in a video posted online.

Wearing a hijab and showing her office card, well-known news anchor Shabnam Dawran said “our lives are under threat” in the clip on social media.
Under the Taliban’s regime from 1996 to 2001, women were excluded from public life, girls could not attend school, entertainment was banned and brutal punishments were imposed.
Female journalists have also been targeted by the militants in a wave of assassinations in recent months leading up to their takeover of the country.
However, since seizing power in a lightning offensive the Taliban have claimed women will have rights, including to education and work, and that the media will be independent and free.
One Taliban official even sat down for a one-on-one interview with a woman journalist on TV to press the point.
But Dawran, who has worked as a journalist for six years in Afghanistan for state-owned broadcaster RTA, said this week she was barred from entering her office while male colleagues were allowed in.
“I didn’t give up after the change of system and went to attend my office, but unluckily I was not allowed despite showing my office card,” she said in the video.
“The male employees, those with office cards were allowed to enter the office but I was told that I couldn’t continue my duty because the system has been changed.”
Dawran then pleads with viewers, saying: “Those who are listening to me, if the world hears me, then please help us as our lives are under threat.”
Among those to share the footage was Miraqa Popal, an editor at Tolo News, a 24-hour channel in Afghanistan.
“Taliban didn’t allow my ex-colleague here in @TOLOnews and famous anchor of the State-owned @rtapashto Shabnam Dawran to start her work today,” Popal wrote in a tweet on Wednesday that was shared thousands of times.
In a tweet on Tuesday, Popal posted a picture of a woman news presenter on Tolo, with the caption: “We resumed our broadcast with female anchors today.”
Taliban takeover will inspire terrorists, warns UK minister
The Taliban takeover of Afghanistan will inspire terrorists and trigger an explosion of extremism and security challenges for the world, UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace warned on Thursday.
Speaking to the BBC, the Cabinet minister said he feared that terror groups like Al Qaeda would view the Taliban advance as an opportunity and it was important for the West to gear up against such a prospect.
It’s pretty straightforward. Failed states lead to an explosion of poverty and usually an explosion of extremism or security challenges. That’s why we have invested in capabilities to take action from outside a country, Wallace said.
One of the things I felt was wrong about where we were with this deal you’ve heard me call it a rotten deal is that around the world Islamists will see what they view as a victory. That will inspire other terrorists, he said.
Al-Qaeda is potentially going to look at this as an opportunity. We will have to gear up, tool up, he added. (AFP/PTI )
The minister, overseeing the evacuation of British nationals from Afghanistan, also dismissed some media reports claiming that planes were flying out of the region half empty.
Wallace said seven to 10 Royal Air Force (RAF) packed planes were taking off every day. The passengers on the flights out of Afghanistan this week have included British government personnel, British citizens, media and human rights staff and Afghans who had worked for the UK.
UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said on Twitter that another 10 Foreign Office and Home Office staff had been sent to Afghanistan to help with the evacuation efforts.
Meanwhile, Raab has come under fire from the Opposition after claims he failed to personally intervene to help evacuate Afghan interpreters. Raab was advised to telephone his Afghan counterpart for urgent support but reportedly the job was given to a junior minister.
“How can Boris Johnson allow the foreign secretary to continue in his role after yet another catastrophic failure of judgement, questioned Labour’s shadow foreign secretary Lisa Nandy.
“If Dominic Raab doesn’t have the decency to resign, the Prime Minister must show a shred of leadership and sack him,” the Indian-origin Opposition Member of Parliament said.
Other Opposition parliamentarians have also echoed calls for Raab to step down over his handling of the Afghanistan crisis.
It comes a day after cross-party members of parliament, including from within the ruling Conservative Party ranks, rounded on British Prime Minister Boris Johnson in Parliament on Wednesday over the situation which they said had destabilised the entire region.
Much of the anger was targeted at US President Joe Biden for his decision to withdraw US troops based on his predecessor Donald Trump’s dubious dealings with the Taliban.
The collapse happened because a truly dreadful US President, Donald Trump, who was probably in hock to the Russians, dealt with the Taliban behind the Afghan Government’s back a shocking betrayal, said Conservative Party member of parliament Bob Seely.
Joe Biden could have changed things. He has chosen not to and has opened the United States, Europe, India and many allies throughout the world to considerable terrorist risks from the 2,500 to 4,000 jihadi nut jobs pardon my French who are currently being released from Bagram, Kandahar and Kabul, he said.
We are now in a mess. China, Russia and Iran are hostile. What are we going to say to citizens in Taiwan, India, Pakistan and western Ukraine? They will all be worried, noted another Tory member of parliament Owen Paterson.
The debate had been called as a special session of Parliament, which is on summer recess for this month. During the session, Dominic Raab reiterated his previous statements in the House of Commons to say that India would play an important role in the UK’s handling of the crisis.
We must work to safeguard regional stability. That will require us to work with different partners, and it will require engagement with key regional players, including India, China, Russia, Pakistan and central Asian states, however difficult, complex or outside of our comfort zone that may prove, said Raab.

Through our domestic sanctions regime and by working with the Indians, who chair the UN sanctions regime for Afghanistan, we will make sure that we can exercise a moderating influence on the Taliban regime, he added. (AFP/PTI )