Afghan media defiant as Taliban representative interviewed by woman anchor

Afghan media defiant as Taliban representative interviewed by woman anchor
Women journalists have returned to TV screens in Afghanistan despite a climate of fear regarding their future under Taliban rule.
2 min read
Women journalists were absent from television screens on Monday, as were music and soap operas [Getty]

Afghanistan’s TOLO News has resumed broadcasting with female presenters on-screen amid a climate of fear for women journalists working under Taliban rule.

In scenes unthinkable two decades ago, a Taliban media representative was interviewed by woman journalist Beheshta Arghband about security in the capital and reports of lootings in residents' homes.

Meanwhile, Hasiba Atakpal and Zahra Rahimi, two female correspondents, reported from Kabul's streets.

A day earlier, women journalists were absent from television screens, along with music and soap operas.

Members of the militant group entered TOLO's offices, seizing all government-issued weapons and offering assurances that the compound would be kept safe.

It is not clear if the broadcaster was given specific instruction to return women on-screen. Saad Mohseni, the CEO of Moby Group, TOLO's owners, was not immediately available for comment when reached by The New Arab.

Despite Tuesday's developments, many female journalists are destroying traces of their identity and work, after allegedly receiving death threats from the Taliban.

Western media groups, such as the Australian journalists' union and a consortium of German media companies, have issued calls for the protection of their Afghan colleagues, urging their governments to offer visas to media workers.

A number of Afghan networks including TOLO news appear to be giving the Taliban favourable coverage, according to BBC Monitoring.

Afghanistan is cautiously adjusting to life with the Taliban at the country's helm after seizing the capital on Sunday, concluding an offensive of a scale and speed that has shocked all observers.

Flights from Kabul resumed early Tuesday after deadly chaos at the city's airports the day before, when tens of thousands of Afghans attempted to leave the country amid mass evacuation efforts for Western nationals and diplomats.