Female broadcast journalists reappear on Afghan television networks

The reporters have been praised for their bravery in the face of the Taliban takeover

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Afghanistan’s female journalists returned to the screen on Tuesday, when television networks resumed broadcasts after the Taliban took control of the country.

Several broadcasters, including Ariana News and ToloNews, defied the militants’ extremely patriarchal views and continued to allow women to deliver bulletins.

“We resumed our broadcast with female anchors today. Hasiba Atakpal and Zahra Rahimi, our female journalists, are reporting live from Kabul city,” Miraqa Popal, the head of news at ToloNews, said on Twitter.

In a historic live interview on Tuesday, Beheshta Arghand, one of ToloNews’ female presenters, spoke to a member of the Taliban’s media team, Mawlawi Abdulhaq Hemad.

She questioned him about the Taliban’s behaviour on the ground in Kabul.

Social media users praised the female reporters for their bravery.

Many described Ms Arghand as a symbol of “bravery, determination and dedication”.

On Sunday, Taliban fighters effortlessly swept through the country, seizing control of the capital at a speed that shocked international observers and Afghans.

Many women fear the militants will reimpose harsh measures against them, severely restricting their rights and freedom.

During the Taliban’s rule from 1996 to 2001, girls were barred from education beyond the age of 8, and women could not leave their homes without being chaperoned by a male relative. They also had to wear burqas, garments that cover the whole body and face, including the eyes.

If they broke the rules, they would undergo public beatings by the Taliban’s religious police.

An image was shared of one of Ariana News’s female presenters on Twitter by the head of the organisation, Sharif Hassanyar. He wrote: “We are here to inform you the latest news. Stay with us.”

A journalist told The Guardian newspaper that her female colleagues were destroying evidence of their work and identities to protect themselves from the militias.

The woman, who chose not to be identified, said she had worked for years to raise the voice of Afghanistan’s female population but with the Taliban’s return she feared her accomplishments would be reversed.

“In the last 24 hours, our lives have changed and we have been confined to our homes, and death threatens us at every moment,” she said.

“For many years, I worked as a journalist to raise the voice of Afghans, especially Afghan women, but now our identity is being destroyed and nothing has been done by us to deserve this,” she told the British newspaper.

Members of the Taliban paid a visit to the home of two female reporters on Sunday, CNN reported.

Several female reporters said they had received threatening calls from the Taliban in recent days, the news network said.

Updated: August 17, 2021, 5:48 PM