As Afghan women cloistered in their homes on Tuesday, fearing for their lives and their futures under Taliban rule, a pair of female television broadcasters offered starkly contradictory visions of the country’s direction.
On Tuesday morning, Beheshta Arghand, a newscaster with the privately owned Tolo News channel, interviewed a Taliban official, asking him about the Taliban’s house-to-house searches in the Afghan capital.
“The entire world now recognizes that the Taliban are the real rulers of the country,” said the official, Mawlawi Abdulhaq Hemad, a member of the Taliban’s media team. “I am still astonished that people are afraid of Taliban.”
The remarkable scene of a Taliban official taking questions from a woman journalist was part of a broader campaign by the Taliban to present a more moderate face to the world and to help tame the fear gripping the country since the insurgents seized the capital on Sunday.
But hours later, a prominent anchorwoman on state television, Khadija Amin, tearfully told a Clubhouse chat room that the Taliban had suspended her, and other women employees, indefinitely.
“I am a journalist and I am not allowed to work,” said Ms. Amin, 28. “What will I do next? The next generation will have nothing, everything we have achieved for 20 years will be gone. The Taliban is the Taliban. They have not changed.”
The stories of the two journalists reflect the uncertainty and deep anxiety Afghan women face as they try to assess what will befall them as the Taliban take control of the country. Millions are afraid of a return to the repressive past,
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