Threatened with death for working on TV

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Source: BBC

When the Taliban seized power in Afghanistan in the 1990s they were quick to ban television, along with music and theatre. The post-Taliban era has seen an explosion of activity in the media, but TV personalities have become targets for militants. Here two women employed by the country’s most-watched TV station, Tolo, describe doing their job under the threat of death.

Shakila Ebrahimkhil – Tolo TV correspondent

Shakila Ebrahimkhil’s own life bears some resemblance to the stories she reports on every night. She was married off as a teenager, during the Taliban years, and when her husband suddenly died she was forced to look after her elderly parents and three young children alone.

Later, after the US-led invasion in 2001, she managed to get an education and eventually started work as a journalist.

It was she who, in 2012, broke the story of Sahar Gul, a 15-year-old Afghan child bride who was locked up and tortured by her husband and in-laws after she refused to be forced into prostitution.

The story shocked people around the world and caused outrage in Afghanistan.

But highlighting the suffering of women in Afghanistan has brought her death threats from militants. And so has another aspect of work – reporting on the many suicide bombings that have hit Afghanistan over the years.

Shakila Ebrahimkhil

She has made a name for herself covering the aftermath of these attacks, interviewing survivors and talking to the families of those who have died.

“We make a profile of them,” she says. “Unfortunately that is part of our work.”

At the Kabul Trauma Hospital, the medics know her well. When they see her, they say, they know plenty of new patients are likely to be arriving before long.

In the ward where the most critically wounded bomb victims are treated there are women and children and Ebrahimkil has come to get victims to record messages to the militants, to mark Persian New Year.

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