By Jenny Goldsberry
An Afghan TV host was held at gunpoint during his program on Sunday. His show, ironically titled “Peace Studio,” revealed two Taliban fighters in the background with rifles in their hands posing in a threatening position behind the television host.
First, the host assured his audience that all was well. He recommended all Afghans “cooperate with [the Taliban] and should not be afraid.”
Next the segment featured an interview with a Taliban fighter. According to BBC journalist Kian Sharifi, the fighter “presumably outranks the rest of the lot in the studio.”
Executive Director of the United Nations Watch Hillel Neuer lamented the loss of the freedom of the press. “Freedom of the press today in Afghanistan means you are free to read out the Taliban script while over your shoulder stand crazed-looking Jihadis with guns,” Neuer tweeted.
Then Macdonald-Laurier Institute senior fellow Mariam Memarsadeghi compared the segment to an Orewellian novel. “This is Afghanistan’s new state TV,” she tweeted. “Deranged-looking Taliban gunmen standing behind the anchor. ‘Peace Studio’ sign above them. Beyond Orwellian. Not just propaganda, it’s terror. Meanwhile Biden admin is (still) politely asking Taliban to show good behavior. Unconscionable.”
Currently the Taliban has complete control of the capital city Kabul. Even at the U.S.-controlled airport, the Taliban runs checkpoints just outside its gates.
You can follow Jenny Goldsberry on Twitter @jennyjournalism.
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Mental health crisis spikes among Afghan women after Taliban regained control two years ago
The women of Afghanistan are suffering a mental health crisis since the Taliban regained power two years ago. According to a joint report from three U.N. agencies released Tuesday, approximately 70% of women experience feelings of anxiety, isolation and depression.
The numbers continue to rise, as there has already been a significant jump between April and June of this year alone, with an increase from 57% the preceding quarter.
The report, conducted by U.N. Women, the International Organization for Migration and the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan, interviewed women online, in-person and in group consultations as well as individual telesurveys.
592 Afghan women in 22 of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces took part in the study. The Associated Press reports:
They have barred women from most areas of public life and work and banned girls from going to school beyond the sixth grade. They have prohibited Afghan women from working at local and non-governmental organizations. The ban was extended to employees of the United Nations in April.
Opportunities to study continued to shrink as community-based education by international organizations was banned and home-based schooling initiatives were regularly shut down by the de facto authorities — a term use by the U.N. for the Taliban government.
Afghanistan is the only country in the world with restrictions on female education and the rights of Afghan women and children are on the agenda of the United Nations General Assembly in New York.
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