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I Fear for the Future of Afghan Women

CNN chief worldwide correspondent Clarissa Ward has a well-earned repute for bravely reporting from among the world’s most harmful and precarious locations. Nonetheless, in current days, considerations for her and different feminine journalists in Afghanistan have grown exponentially following the autumn of Kabul and the Taliban taking up the nation.

Chatting with The Every day Beast on Tuesday, Ward stated that whereas she personally feels “fairly secure on the streets the final couple of days,” it’s a “totally different story” for Afghan feminine journalists now that the Taliban is in cost.

The optics of Ward’s stay stories actually modified in a single day as soon as the Taliban—infamous for its overt misogyny and violence in the direction of ladies—entered the Afghan capital and regained control amid a frantic withdrawal of American personnel.

Reporting from the streets of Kabul on Monday, Ward notably wore an abaya and hijab whereas talking with Afghan residents and Taliban fighters. “Definitely the costume code for me has modified,” she stated throughout her on-air report, later noting that she’s frequently worn a scarf on the streets previous to the Taliban’s takeover, however not on this method. At one other level, she informed CNN viewers that Taliban fighters “told me to stand to the side because I’m a woman.”

Standing on a road nook with militants brandishing firearms behind her within the background, Ward reported that there have been numerous folks “who aren’t out on the streets, who don’t really feel secure, who’re petrified, who’re questioning what the longer term will convey, who’re hiding out. There are tens of hundreds, if not tons of of hundreds, of them throughout this metropolis.”

And but the Islamist group has actively sought to painting itself as a non-threatening power. It’s a deliberate public-relations technique, Ward informed The Every day Beast on Tuesday.

“The Taliban could be very eager to showcase that they could be a extra diplomatic and an efficient political power in the intervening time they know that the world is watching,” she stated. “And they also wish to guarantee that they behave in a means that’s in accordance with worldwide norms so to that finish they’ve been fairly cordial with the media, and I haven’t had any issues on the road.”

(Equally, throughout her Monday report, Ward famous for viewers how “totally weird” it was to look at Taliban fighters chant “Demise to America” but “appear pleasant on the similar time,” smiling and posing for pictures. A deceptively edited clip of her feedback quickly made the rounds among right-wing media and politicians, who smeared her as a “cheerleader” for the Taliban. CNN, and plenty of others, roundly rejected such assaults.)

Requested concerning the risks Afghan female journalists now face below the Taliban, Ward applauded the ladies who’ve continued to do their jobs amid dire uncertainty. Their bravery, she stated, is heightened by the truth that they face a better menace than she ever would as an American lady.

“We noticed a few of them at [Kabul-based network] TOLO TV really return to work at the moment… I used to be simply in awe of their braveness as a result of they face a really totally different state of affairs on the bottom than I do,” Ward informed The Every day Beast. “As a westerner, I’m allowed to get away with all kinds of issues, however they’re held to a special commonplace, and the menace for them is way greater so I believe they’re simply tremendously courageous.”

Nonetheless, she added, “the Taliban has stated again and again that they are going to respect the rights of girls, that it’ll permit ladies to work, however then they’ve additionally stated that it should be inside the realm of their interpretation of Sharia regulation, which signifies that women and men can’t work in the identical place collectively, ladies should put on a full veil that covers even their face.

“So I do assume it’s going to develop into extremely troublesome for lots of those feminine journalists to do their jobs.”

In keeping with Karin Nazich, co-founding director of the Coalition for Girls in Journalism, feminine journalists in Afghanistan are significantly at risk. “On daily basis we’re listening to assorted tales of girls who’re being threatened immediately, being tracked down at first after which reached out by totally different Taliban,” she stated. “So we’re very involved about ladies journalists and their security specifically.”

The Taliban’s makes an attempt to painting a softer public picture of themselves on the worldwide stage, Nazich added, is “a part of their PR. I don’t assume it’s going to be run peacefully.”

“Journalists who’re attempting to flee are doing so as a result of they imagine they’re in grave hazard. Some know that they’re already on lists, some have had the Taliban come to their properties. They concern for his or her lives and people of their households,” added Elisa Lees Muñoz, govt director of the D.C.-based Worldwide Girls’s Media Basis, which is “working with plenty of teams to get as many journalists as doable in a foreign country who’re attempting to go away,” she stated.

Sabur Shah Dawod Zai, CEO of the Bin Dawod Basis, an Afghan fundraising group for kids and ladies, agreed, going additional to make extra dire predictions about ladies journalists within the nation. A Taliban media representative’s sitdown with a TOLO female news anchor was “only for present,” he warned, including that the Islamist group “will kill all of the journalists and authorities employees as soon as they’ve absolutely established energy.”

Ward informed The Every day Beast that whereas she had not “personally been confronted with tales” of militants raiding properties and concentrating on Afghan feminine journalists, she has “heard of searches” already underway—although she has not verified who has carried out such actions. Whereas Ward “can be stunned if within the close to future these ladies have been bodily harmed,” she “would completely be involved for his or her safety” sooner or later.

“If the tone is ready as one through which ladies shouldn’t be seen within the streets and ladies shouldn’t be working in entrance of the digital camera then, in fact, that may actually give others the sense that they’ll come out and assault ladies who’re doing most of these work,” she stated.

As for whether or not or not Ward and her crew are involved for their very own security and have made any plans to exit Afghanistan, the CNN star informed The Every day Beast that as a result of the state of affairs is so fluid, all she will be able to do is proceed to report.

“The precedence on the bottom for our crew is at all times our crew’s safety and ensuring that all of us get out safely when we have to try this, and we’re continually reassessing the safety state of affairs on the bottom, and continually ensuring that we now have a plan in place ought to we have to get out,” she stated. “That plan is at all times altering because the safety is altering, nevertheless it’s one thing that we watch very carefully.”

She concluded: “For now although, I believe we really feel privileged to be right here and to inform this story.”

https://www.thedailybeast.com/cnn-reporter-clarissa-ward-i-fear-for-the-future-of-afghan-women?supply=articles&through=rss | I Worry for the Way forward for Afghan Girls

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