A female journalist in Afghanistan said she is on the run from the Taliban and fears for her life and those hiding her if members of the extremist group discover her whereabouts.
“I don’t know what will happen to me, because if they find me, they will kill me,” the woman told Fox News in an interview published Wednesday.
The journalist, whose identity Fox News is concealing to protect her, said she was a vocal critic of the Taliban’s cruel treatment of women and lives in terror that the group will begin killing female journalists.
She said she “was one of the females to always talk against Taliban in the media because of what they did to the women, what they did to the innocent people in Afghanistan, what they did to the children in Afghanistan.”
“They burned them,” the 24-year-old told Fox News. “They killed them.”
Shortly after the Taliban took over Kabul more than a week ago, they prohibited her from returning to her office, demanding that she cover her face.
But even after she did, the Taliban refused her entry.
“They told me, ‘You’re not allowed to come to the TV,’” she said. “’We will have our own presenter, our own journalist. And we don’t need you anymore.’”
“’We don’t need females here,’” she said a Taliban fighter informed her. “’Go to your home. Don’t come back.'”
She fled her home with her 17-year-old brother and has been staying with friends since, changing locations daily.
“They are checking for the people who always talked against them,” she said. “Every day, I’m changing my address to be sure that they can’t track me.”
The journalist worries that the Taliban will discover where she’s staying and kill her and her friends hiding her, or that her friends could inform on her to protect themselves from reprisals.
“My friends are afraid because they think that they might be targeted because of me,” she said. “I don’t know who is actually my enemy right now.”
Taliban death squads have been scouring Kabul for Afghans who cooperated with the US and allied forces during the 20-year war and journalists who were critical of their regime.
Last week, a family member of a reporter for Deutsche Welle was shot dead by Taliban fighters during their search for the German journalist.
“I’m afraid what if they do the same thing for me?” said the journalist Fox News interviewed.
“What if they kill my family member? What if they killed my friends for finding me?
I don’t know how long I can do this. I can’t put more people in danger because of myself,” she said. “We might be safe just a few days more.”
The Taliban vowed to adopt a more tolerant stance on women and allow them to work and attend school, as opposed to when they ruled in the 1990s and banned women and girls from being educated or traveling outside the home unless accompanied by a man.
The female journalist told Fox News she doesn’t see the Taliban following through on that pledge.
“My message to the world and to America and to people all around the world is the Talibans are not change,” she told Fox News. “They are targeting people, they are killing people.”
“The only thing that the Taliban did for the last 20 years was killing people,” she added. “People will never forgive the Taliban for what they did to the Afghan people for the last 20 years and what they are doing … now.”
The United Nations accused the Taliban of carrying out widespread human rights abuses, “summary executions,” and placing harsh restrictions on women.
The woman said she was in her last year of law school and aspired to become a judge or an international lawyer, but that dream, like those of other women in Afghanistan, is in jeopardy.
“But I think it’s gone. And I will never be that person that I always had in my dreams,” she said. “We don’t have any future. We don’t have any freedom.”
“And the very basic rights as a human that I have to speak, to go out of my home, to choose everything I want, it’s gone. There is no hope for me, for my generation, for my people, for females, especially for the journalists, who are very afraid,” she said.
“No one will come back for Afghanistan. It feels like the end of the story and the end of Afghanistan for me,” she told Fox News.
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