The Taliban Kind of Press Freedom: Armed Militants Right Behind TV Host In Studio

Published August 30th, 2021 - 06:27 GMT
Afghanistan TV screenshot
The Afghanistan TV host had to film his show with Taliban militants behind his back. (Twitter: @BBCYaldaHakim)

Weeks after the Taliban reassured Afghans that the group has learned a lot since it left power in 2001, pledging to protect freedoms and allow space for political life, a scene that appeared during a political show on TV hinted at a different reality.

Starting the episode, the presenter of the political debate show Pardaz- aired on Afghanistan TV- appeared with two Taliban gunmen in the background, telling the public that they "should not be afraid of the Taliban" and that "they should cooperate with the group with no fear." According to Afghan commentators, the presenter used two of the main languages spoken in Afghanistan, Dari and Pashto.

However, the online reaction to the TV appearance was not welcoming of the Taliban, neither has it achieved its goal of addressing the public fears, as most social media users focused on the armed militants who seemed to be intimidating the presenter.

Meanwhile, many users saluted the presenter saying that he must be under so much stress going live on TV with guns pointed at him while keeping so calm and composed.

Ever since the Taliban entered Kabul on the 15th of August 2021, the group's spokesmen have repeatedly stressed their intention to maintain freedoms in the country and to not impose strict laws on Afghans the way they did in the late 1990s.

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