World Afghan journalists are 'absolutely petrified' amid the Taliban takeover
As world marks 9/11, Taliban flag raised over seat of power
KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — The Taliban raised their iconic white flag over the Afghan presidential palace Saturday, a spokesman said, as the U.S. and the world marked the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks. The banner, emblazoned with a Quranic verse, was hoisted by Mullah Mohammad Hassan Akhund, the prime minister of the Taliban interim government, in a low-key ceremony, said Ahmadullah Muttaqi, multimedia branch chief of the Taliban’s cultural commission. © Provided by Associated Press A man walks down the stairs at dusk in Kabul, Afghanistan, Saturday, Sept. 11, 2021.
As Taliban forces seize control in Afghanistan, global news outlets are struggling to stay safe and continue reporting. But local journalists could be at greater risk.
The Committee to Protect Journalists has warned that Afghan journalists face extreme dangers amidtakeover. On Sunday, the militants took control of the presidential palace in Kabul after President Ashraf Ghani fled the country.
Who are the Taliban: The history — and present — of the group taking over Afghanistan
"When it comes to experience, maturity, vision, there is a huge difference between us in comparison to 20 years ago," a Taliban spokesman said.“Our nation is a Muslim nation, whether 20 years ago or now," Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said in his first news conference after the militants took control of the country on Tuesday, according to a translation by Al Jazeera. "But when it comes to experience, maturity, vision, there is a huge difference between us in comparison to 20 years ago.
Suspected Taliban fighters killed an Afghan radio station manager in Kabul last week,, intensifying fear among journalists in the community.
Afghan journalists, particularly women, are "absolutely petrified," CNN's chief international correspondent Clarissa Ward told CNN's chief media correspondent Brian Stelter on "Reliable Sources" Sunday. "They've been doing bold and incredible reporting for many years, and now there's a very real fear that they might face retaliations for that or that certainly they won't be able to do their work anymore."
At leasthave been murdered this year, according to Reporters Without Borders (RSF), while one was shot dead by a gunman in December 2020.
White House says a 'fair amount' of US military equipment provided to Afghans is now in Taliban hands
"Obviously, we don't have a sense that they are going to readily hand it over to us at the airport," National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said.WASHINGTON — National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said Tuesday a "fair amount" of military equipment the U.S. provided the Afghan National Security Forces was seized by the Taliban in the militant group's quick route of Afghanistan.
Video: Afghan journalist in Kabul explains why Taliban takeover of major cities matters (CNN)
"RSF is deeply concerned that the troop withdrawal will create an information vacuum and that the space for journalism will dwindle or disappear entirely," said RSF secretary-general Christophe Deloire last month. "It is absolutely clear that there will be no lasting peace in Afghanistan without a purposeful commitment to the protection of journalists and to press freedom from the authorities."
Many independent newsrooms in Afghanistan are "pretty much hunkered down at the moment," Ward said, adding that "there is a sense of real concern that things could get chaotic on the streets."
Allthough "there's no sense at the moment that Western journalists are being targeted," Ward said that her CNN crew had moved their live shot location indoors to avoid "potentially attracting a lot of attention."
China accuses Washington of 'low political tricks' over Uyghur exhibit
China accuses Washington of 'low political tricks' over Uyghur exhibitGENEVA (Reuters) - A U.S.-backed Uyghur photo exhibit of dozens of people who are missing or alleged to be held in camps in Xinjiang, China, opened in Switzerland on Thursday, prompting Beijing to issue a furious statement accusing Washington of "low political tricks".
Just last month,, a Pulitzer Prize-winning Reuters photographer, was killed in clashes near Kandahar, Afghanistan. Siddiqui was the news agency's chief photographer in India, based in Mumbai.
Concerns remain high that local reporters will be targeted for retaliation by the insurgents. "Some of these journalists and reporters know that they have a big X on their backs ... because they have been so outspoken against the Taliban," Ward said.
CNN's crews in Afghanistan are being "exceptionally cautious," Ward said, and will leave if necessary. But "for so many Afghans, that's simply not an option. They're here, they have to stay, they have to live with the consequences of this next chapter."
-- Diksha Madhok contributed to this report.
After two decades and billions spent, Afghan government collapses as Taliban takes Kabul .
The Taliban, which for hours had been in the outskirts of Kabul, announced soon after they would move farther into a city gripped by panic.Embattled President Ashraf Ghani fled the country as the Taliban entered the capital city of Kabul, and American troops scrambled to evacuate thousands of U.S. diplomats and Afghans from the U.S. Embassy.