Taliban tells CNN reporter in Kabul to stand to the side because she's a woman as life changes overnight in the Afghan capital

·2-min read
taliban fighters in kabul
Taliban fighters outside the interior ministry in Kabul, Afghanistan, on Sunday, after the militant force encircled and took over the city. Stringer/Reuters
  • Life has rapidly changed in Kabul, the Afghan capital, since the Taliban seized it.

  • CNN's Clarissa Ward said Taliban fighters told her to stand to the side because she's a woman.

  • Ward said a Taliban commander told her that "everything is under control, everything will be fine."

  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

Taliban fighters ordered the CNN reporter Clarissa Ward to stand to the side because she's a woman, she said, in one sign that life in the Afghan capital of Kabul has changed overnight since the militant Islamist group retook the city on Sunday.

"They've just told me to stand to the side because I'm a woman," Ward said, adding that while some Taliban fighters on Kabul's streets had appeared friendly, "the welcoming spirit only extends so far, and my presence soon creates tension."

Ward said it was "utterly bizarre" to find Taliban fighters behaving relatively amicably as they could simultaneously be heard chanting "Death to America!"

Ward said a Taliban commander told her that "everything is under control, everything will be fine," and that "nobody should worry." The commander's message to America was that it had "spent enough time in Afghanistan" and needed to leave, she said. "They already lost lots of lives and lots of money," the commander said, according to Ward.

Some of the Taliban fighters held US weapons, Ward said, adding that she had seen "far fewer women" than usual on Kabul's streets and that those she had encountered "tend to be dressed more conservatively than they were when they were walking down the streets of Kabul yesterday."

The Taliban's rapid seizure of the Afghan capital and other cities in recent days has stunned the Biden administration and led to widespread criticism of how the US has handled the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan.

The US has evacuated its embassy in Kabul and sent in 6,000 additional troops. But the situation remained uncertain and chaotic on Monday. Afghans who helped the US during the war were desperate to leave the country, leading to harrowing scenes at the Kabul airport.

The Taliban said it would grant amnesty to all those who had helped the US or the US-backed government, but history provides many reasons to be skeptical.

"Thousands of Afghans at serious risk of Taliban reprisals - from academics and journalists to civil society activists and women human rights defenders - are in danger of being abandoned to a deeply uncertain future," Amnesty International said in a tweet on Monday.

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