With the invasion of Afghanistan by the USA and allies, the country experienced a gigantic boom in electronic and printed media, which was mostly financed openly or clandestinely by the embassies of western and regional countries. However, in Afghanistan, with the highest illiteracy rate, television and radio successively attracted the majority of the population. In 2018, the Afghan Ministry of Information and Culture reported that 203 television channels, 366 radio stations, 72 daily newspapers, 354 weekly newspapers, 344 magazines and 73 news agencies are registered with the ministry, where they should get their licenses. Of course, even the so-called independent television stations were / are funded by Western governments, especially the US, while others received their spending from Pakistani, Iranian and Turkish governments to promote Sunni and Shiite fundamentalism and support their interests through their deputies in the governments Country.
Although the majority of the owners and CEOs of these media agencies, especially the television networks, have made millions of dollars and even own their luxury villas overseas or have financially supported some of the parliamentary candidates, the journalists who are employees of these media companies are especially the ones reporting from the field , were even faced with life threats: killed while reporting from war zones; kidnapped and beheaded by Taliban and other terrorist groups; killed in suicide bombings and explosions; disappeared; beaten and humiliated by senior officials’ bodyguards for reporting their crimes or corruption.
With the Taliban takeover, many companies collapsed, as did media agencies, and worst of all, the Taliban banned women from working outdoors, and their sharp swords were aimed mostly at women journalists.
R, a graduate of Kabul University’s Faculty of Journalism and with a decade of media experience, has mainly reported on human rights abuses and now owns a news website.
Soon after the Taliban took over Kabul, Zabiullah Mujahid, the terrorist group’s media man who is trying to put a moderate face on the Taliban, announced that the women should stay at home until an unknown time. And R, an investigative journalist about human rights abuses who has now become a victim herself, was one of the women who took to the streets to protest against this inhumane order.
“On September 7th, 2021 I was part of a women’s group to take part in a protest in front of the 3approx Police station of the city of Kabul, which now houses Taliban militias, and also reports on the protest. A Taliban fighter attacked me from behind, grabbed my camera, tried to break the lens, and then took the camera away from me. “
R loses consciousness as a result of the attack and falls into the street until a passerby comes to her rescue. She passes out and notices that her attacker is standing a few meters away. She goes to him and asks for her camera to be returned, but the Taliban fighter responds by calling her a prostitute who is trying to denigrate the Islamic emirate. He forces them to sit on a bus and leave the area to disperse the protesters. She contacts some journalists’ associations to force the Taliban to return her camera, but no success and eventually loses the most precious thing in her life. She talks over the camera with tears in her eyes like she has lost a child or a pet. She says, “You tried to take my identity away from me.”
This is not the first time R has been threatened. She speaks of the humiliations that she and her journalists were exposed to. “As an investigative journalist reporting on atrocities against women,” she adds, “I was directly or indirectly threatened by warlords, parliamentarians, senators and senior officials in the previous regime.”
“I don’t see much difference between the two regimes,” she continues, “they both have a patriarchal mentality and see women as a means of giving birth and staying behind the walls.”
Beaten and humiliated, but R does not lose hope or join the huge caravan of journalists to leave the country. She vows to continue her struggle, the struggle against a theocratic regime and the struggle against a feudal and patriarchal family and society. She continues to report on the struggle of women against the Taliban and the general dire situation of Afghan women under Taliban rule.