American Female Reporter Wears Hijab as Taliban Gains More Ground in Afghanistan

Amid the Taliban's takeover of Afghanistan, CNN chief foreign correspondent Clarissa Ward has begun wearing a hijab while on-air, where she has discussed what it is like to be a female reporter in the nation.

Speaking on CNN on Monday, Ward described life inside Kabul, Afghanistan's capital. She described "smiling and victorious" Taliban fighters who have flooded into the capital.

"This is a sight I honestly thought I would never see," she said. "Scores of Taliban fighters and, just behind us, the U.S. Embassy compound."

She said her presence created tension with the Taliban, who told her to stand to the side because she is a woman.

"Obviously, I am dressed in a very different way to how I would normally dress to walk down the streets of Kabul," she said. She said that she has seen fewer women outside, and the ones she has seen were dressed more conservatively.

CNN's @clarissaward reports on what Afghanistan looks like as the Taliban take over.

— New Day (@NewDay) August 16, 2021

On Sunday, Ward spoke on CNN's Reliable Sources about reporting in Afghanistan, saying that CNN would like to continue reporting in Kabul but reporters will leave if it becomes apparent they need to.

"We're definitely being exceptionally cautious and trying to ride this thing out in a calm manner," she said.

She said that Afghan journalists—specifically women—are "absolutely petrified" and that many know they are targets for their outspokenness against the Taliban.

"There are so many of them across the country, and they've been doing bold and incredible reporting for many years, and now there's a very real fear that they might face retaliations for that or that certainly they won't be able to do their work anymore," she said.

On Monday, Ward posted a photo of herself in Kabul on Twitter, and people commended her bravery for reporting on the ground there.

On the streets of Kabul today- feel we are witnessing history

— Clarissa Ward (@clarissaward) August 16, 2021

"I can only imagine how terrifying the situation must be there," tweeted one user, @sannahoeven. "You're so brave for doing this. A true journalist!"

Newsweek reached out to CNN for comment but did not hear back before publication.

Many Afghan women fear the Taliban's return to power will mean they could lose the rights they have won in the past few decades, including the ability to get an education, the Associated Press reported.

The fundamentalist group ruled the country for five years until the U.S.-led invasion in 2001. They banned girls from getting an education and women from working. Women were not allowed to travel outside the home without men, and public executions were carried out for women accused of adultery, according to the AP.

Marianne O'Grady, Kabul-based deputy country director for CARE International, told the AP she does not believe things will go back to the way they were under previous Taliban rule. "You can't uneducate millions of people," she said.

Afghan People Walking to Airport
CNN chief foreign correspondent Clarissa Ward has continued reporting in Kabul amid the Taliban's takeover of the city. Above, Afghan people head toward Kabul's airport on Monday as they try to flee the country. WAKIL KOHSAR/AFP via Getty Images

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