Afghan News Anchor Says She Was Barred From Work After Taliban Takeover

An Afghan woman journalist has said she was barred from working at her TV station after the Taliban took control of the country, and pleaded for help in a video posted online.

Wearing a hijab and showing her office card, well-known news anchor Shabnam Dawran said “our lives are under threat” in the clip on social media.

Under the Taliban’s regime from 1996 to 2001, women were excluded from public life, girls could not attend school, entertainment was banned and brutal punishments were imposed.

Female journalists have also been targeted by the militants in a wave of assassinations in recent months leading up to their takeover of the country.

However, since seizing power in a lightning offensive the Taliban have claimed women will have rights, including to education and work, and that the media will be independent and free.

One Taliban official even sat down for a one-on-one interview with a woman journalist on TV to press the point.

But Dawran, who has worked as a journalist for six years in Afghanistan for state-owned broadcaster RTA, said this week she was barred from entering her office while male colleagues were allowed in.

“I didn’t give up after the change of system and went to attend my office, but unluckily I was not allowed despite showing my office card,” she said in the video.

“The male employees, those with office cards were allowed to enter the office but I was told that I couldn’t continue my duty because the system has been changed.”

Dawran then pleads with viewers, saying: “Those who are listening to me, if the world hears me, then please help us as our lives are under threat.”

Among those to share the footage was Miraqa Popal, an editor at Tolo News, a 24-hour channel in Afghanistan.

“Taliban didn’t allow my ex-colleague here in @TOLOnews and famous anchor of the State-owned @rtapashto Shabnam Dawran to start her work today,” Popal wrote in a tweet on Wednesday that was shared thousands of times.

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In a tweet on Tuesday, Popal posted a picture of a woman news presenter on Tolo, with the caption: “We resumed our broadcast with female anchors today.”

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