Scribe circled by Talib fighters says 'don't be scared'

'Don't be scared' says Afghan news presenter surrounded by armed Taliban fighters

The Taliban banned television and it censored news when it was in power from 1996 to 2001

Screenshot of a video clip of an Afghan news programme. Credit: Twitter Photo/@KianSharifi

The Taliban have in the past weeks been called out for promising rights and freedoms but not implementing them in the country. In what seems to be one such symbol of the paradoxical behaviour, an Afghan TV news presenter said that the Islamic Emirate wants the public to cooperate with them and not be afraid, while the presenter himself was surrounded by armed Taliban fighters.

In a video posted by BBC journalist Kian Sharifi, the presenter was heard saying so. "With armed Taliban fighters standing behind him, the presenter of Afghan TV's Peace Studio political debate programme says the Islamic Emirate (Taliban's preferred name) wants the public to "cooperate with it and should not be afraid,” Sharifi tweeted.

The journalist said in another tweet that the presenter interviewed the top rank Taliban fighter among the lot in Dari and Pashto in a programme called Pardaz.

The Taliban follow an ultra-hardline version of Sunni Islam. When in power from 1996-2001, guided by its interpretation of Islamic law, the Taliban banned television and censored news. It has become more media-savvy since, using social media and promising to allow a free press.

Taliban fighters, however, have raided homes of journalists' relatives and killed one family member of a reporter working for Deutsche Welle, the German public broadcaster said.

(With agency inputs)

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