Armed Taliban fighters surround ‘petrified’ TV host as he says ‘don’t be afraid’

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Video of a group of armed Taliban fighters standing behind a news anchor in a studio as he begged people not to flee Afghanistan has gone viral online.

The 42-second clip, shared by BBC journalist Kian Sharifi on Twitter, shows at least eight fighters with guns inside Afghan TV's "peace studio", which holds political debate programmes.

They stand in a line right behind the news anchor as he reads out a statement that briefly says the Taliban wants the public to "cooperate with it and should not be afraid".

Then he turns to interview a Taliban militant, Qari Samiullah, who appears to outrank the rest of the men.

Mr Samiulah says: "Our focus on the people is for the country to prosper, they live under an umbrella of Islamic system.

"My first message to the nation is not to worry at all. Stay and live in your homeland and in your homes. Your homeland needs you and we will protect you.

"God willing, we will try to establish a safe atmosphere in all the provinces of Afghanistan so that the people do not worry and do not fear the Mujahideen, because they are our brothers and we protect them.

"And together with them we will build the homeland."

Along with the video, Kian wrote: "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'.

"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."

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Iranian journalist Masih Alinejad also retweeted the video and wrote: "This is surreal.

"Taliban militants are posing behind this visibly petrified TV host with guns and making him to say that people of #Afghanistan shouldn't be scared of the Islamic Emirate.

"Taliban itself is synonymous with fear in the minds of millions. This is just another proof."

It comes as the last American and British troops left the country, putting an end to their 20-year occupation.

Thousands of people have been evacuated since the Taliban seized control of Afghanistan earlier this month, amid fears the brutal regime and disregard for human rights that was seen during their last reign of power could return.

  • Afghanistan
  • Taliban

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