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Armed Taliban Surround Afghan News Anchor as Citizens Instructed to ‘Cooperate’ and ‘Not be Afraid’

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The new reality in Afghanistan is beginning to rear its ugly head in a multitude of ways. One of those ways is so unbelievable that one Twitter user explained it, “were this in a movie, I’d think it was dramatized and ‘unrealistic.’ Like a scene from The Dictator.” Sadly, it is a scene from Afghanistan’s press, now unambiguously controlled by the Taliban.

Journalist for BBC Monitoring, Kian Sharifi tweeted a clip of a news broadcast out of Afghanistan with the caption, “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.”

 

Nothing convinces people to not be afraid more than guns pointing at the person being forced to say it. Sharifi first tweeted a forty-two-second clip of the newscast, and then a longer version roughly an hour later. He added, “The program is called Pardaz. In this longer video, the presenter interviews a Taliban fighter who presumably outranks the rest of the lot in the studio. The presenter switches from Dari to Pashto, which unfortunately I don’t speak.”

At one point the video pans out and shows a wide shot of the entire studio with the newscaster sitting at a bright yellow desk. The journalist is wearing a traditional Western suit, and is surrounded by eight members of the Taliban, all armed with weapons.

A large sign in the background includes the words “Peace Studio” in English. As international lawyer and human rights activist Hillel Neuer tweeted, “Freedom of the press today in Afghanistan means you are free to read out the Taliban script while over your shoulder stand crazed-looking Jihadis with guns.”

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