The female anchor who interviewed a Taliban official said he showed up at her studio uninvited, and she felt lucky to be already wearing loose clothing

·2 min read
  • Beheshta Arghand did a groundbreaking interview with a Taliban leader after the group took Kabul.

  • The news anchor said the leader arrived unannounced and asked to be interviewed, Reuters reported.

  • Arghand, who has since fled Afghanistan, said she felt lucky that she was wearing loose clothing.

  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

The female TV news anchor who did a groundbreaking interview with a Taliban official live on air said he showed up to the studio unannounced and asked to be interviewed. She told Reuters that she felt lucky that she was already wearing long clothing.

Beheshta Arghand, a 24-year-old presenter at the independent outlet TOLO News, interviewed a Taliban leader on August 17, two days after the group seized control of Kabul.

As Insider's Grace Panetta reported, Arghand was the first female TV host to conduct a live sit-down interview with a Taliban leader.

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Though she was praised for doing it, and it was seen as a possible sign that the group's attitude toward women had changed, she said she has since left Afghanistan out of fear of the Taliban.

Arghand told Reuters that the official turned up at the studio, despite not having an invite, and asked to be interviewed.

"I was shocked, I lost my control," she said. She continued, "I said to myself that maybe they came to ask why did I come to the studio."

Arghand said she adjusted the headscarf that she was already wearing so it would look more like a traditional hijab, and that she was glad that she was already wearing conservative clothing.

"I always wear long clothes in the studio because we have different people with different minds," she said.

She said that around a week after her interview, the Taliban told TOLO News to make all the female staff wear a hijab, and that it suspended female anchors at other TV stations.

She added that the Taliban also told local news outlets not to report on the Taliban's takeover of the country and what it is doing in power.

Arghand has since fled to Doha, Qatar. She said the Nobel Prize winner Malala Yousafzai - whom she previously interviewed - was able to help her get out of the country on August 24. Yousafzai was shot by the Pakistani Taliban in 2012 after advocating for girls' education. 

The Taliban has said that it is committed to women's rights, but it restricted women's rights, movements, and clothing the last time it was in power and enforced brutal punishments, including death.

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