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An Afghan anchorman was caught in the unenviable position of reading the news while surrounded by armed Taliban fighters – as he told his viewers to “not be afraid.”
The nervous-looking presenter of Afghan TV’s Peace Studio political debate show is seen talking while two extremists glaring from behind, as well as being surrounded by six others after they apparently stormed the studio, according to Unilad.
“This is what a political debate now looks like on Afghan TV, Taliban foot soldiers watching over the host,” the BBC’s Yalda Hakim said in a tweet.
“The presenter talks about the collapse of the Ghani govt & says the Islamic Emirate says the Afghan people should not to be afraid,” she added about the Sunday broadcast.
Kian Sharifi, another BBC journalist, also shared the chilling footage.
“With armed Taliban fighters standing behind him, the presenter of Afghan TV’s Peace Studio political debate programme says the Islamic Emirate (Taliban’s preferred name) wants the public to ‘cooperate with it and should not be afraid,’” Sharifi tweeted.
“The programme is called Pardaz. In this longer video, the presenter interviews a Taliban fighter who presumably outranks the rest of the lot in the studio. The presenter switches from Dari to Pashto, which unfortunately I don’t speak,” he added.
Iranian journalist Masih Alinejad called on President Joe Biden to watch the clip and “let us know if these militants posing behind this visibly petrified TV host are holding American weapons.”
“Taliban itself is synonymous with fear in the minds of millions. This is just another proof,” Alinejad added.
The hostage-style video emerged as the Taliban has been trying to sell a softer image in a propaganda campaign after the Islamic militant group’s last repressive rule some 20 years ago.