AFGHANISTAN: Flanked by Taliban gunmen, TV host reassures Afghans during broadcast

Kabul – August 27, 2021 Afghanistan TV (Do not obscure logo)


Flanked by armed Taliban fighters, the host of a political debate programme on Afghanistan TV appeared on his show, saying the Taliban is demanding cooperation from the nation and that people should not be “afraid of anything”.

The unsettling segment of the programme “Pardaz”, was aired on Friday, August 27 and within a few hours, a shorter version of the programme was shared millions of times across Twitter and other social media platforms.

The programme, aired from Afghanistan TV’s “Peace Studio” in Kabul, starts with the presenter describing the current situation of the country in Dari, a variety of Farsi spoken across Afghanistan and by many ethnicities including Tajiks and Hazaras.

“The Islamic Emirate and its fighters… only demand from the people is that they should cooperate with the Islamic Emirate and not to be scared of anything,” the presenter said, adding that the Taliban said, “we want to establish a system that is acceptable to the entire nation.”

Comments by the TV host, Mirwais Heidari Haqdoost was made as a close-up shot showed two Taliban fighters brandishing their weapons while standing right next to the presenter.

As the camera zooms out, the image reveals five other armed Taliban fighters standing in the studio, while a higher rank Taliban commander, Qari Samiullah, is sitting to be interviewed.

As the presenter turns to Samiullah to ask questions, they switch to Pashto, the language that the Taliban primarily speak and belongs to the Pashtun ethnic group.

Several social media users described the video as “surreal”, saying it reflects the reality of the Islamist group.

The Taliban toppled the Afghan government in a matter of days and took control of the country’s capital, Kabul, on August 15, prompting thousands to rush to Kabul airport in an attempt to flee the country amid desperate and chaotic scenes.

The group however has launched a charm offensive since seizing power across most of Afghanistan, trying to portray a peaceful image of its fighters which contradicts what Afghans experienced during the Taliban’s rule from 1996 to 2001.Mahsa Aminolahi – ESN


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