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First Female Afghan TV Anchor to Interview Taliban Leader Flees Country

Arghand, who worked for Afghan news network Tolonews, came into limelight because she became the first female presenter to appear on TV next to a Taliban leader. (Credits: Malayalam News18)

Arghand, who worked for Afghan news network Tolonews, came into limelight because she became the first female presenter to appear on TV next to a Taliban leader. (Credits: Malayalam News18)

Beheshta Arghand reportedly told CNN that she had left Afghanistan because of the fear of the Taliban.

A female Afghan news presenter, Beheshta Arghand, has reportedly left Afghanistan after she made headlines for interviewing senior Taliban leader Mawlawi Abdulhaq Hemad. Her interview with the high-ranking Taliban representative was aired mid-August, according to a report by The Economic Times. Arghand, who worked for Afghan news network Tolonews, came into limelight because she became the first female presenter to appear on TV next to a Taliban leader. Arghand reportedly told CNN that she had left Afghanistan because of the fear of the Taliban and that she would return should the security situation in the country improve. “I left the country because, like millions of people, I fear the Taliban," CNN quoted her as saying. According to news agency IANS, two days after she interviewed the Taliban leader, Arghand also interviewed Nobel laureate and activist Malala Yousafzai, making it the first time that the activist was interviewed on Afghan TV.

According to IANS, Saad Mohseni, the owner of TOLO, said almost all reputed journalists and reporters of the Afghan news organisation had already left. She added that replacing them has been no easy feat and that it posits the twin challenge of evacuating people for their safety while also having to keep the operations running. On August 17, the Head of News at TOLO tweeted out that the channel had resumed its broadcast with female anchors that day.

Reports suggest that the Taliban are going back to their retrograde policies, followed during their rule between 1996 and 2001, in the areas captured now. The Taliban, in recent years, have said they are committed to providing women their rights and allowing them to work and attend school, provided they do not flout Islamic or Afghan values. However, the Taliban also said they want to limit the freedom gained in recent years by women, which has promoted “immorality” and “indecency”.

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The Taliban had, earlier, in its five years of rule prohibited women from attending school or leaving home without a male relative. Women, who disobeyed were sometimes killed, Sher Jan Ahmadzai wrote in Asia Times. During the previous rule, the women were required to cover their bodies and faces in a burqa and those accused of adultery were stoned to death in stadiums. Women were also publicly shamed and beaten if found breaching the rules.

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first published:August 31, 2021, 12:52 IST