'Executions': BBC host details haunting conversation with Taliban

·3 min read

A BBC World News anchor has detailed a haunting conversation she had with the Taliban frontline commanders while reporting in Afghanistan before the group stormed the country's capital of Kabul. 

Afghan-born TV host, Yalda Hakim, who emigrated to Australia in the 1980s, made headlines last week when she received a surprise call from a Taliban spokesperson while live on-air.

During the phone call, Taliban spokesperson Suhail Shaheen vowed that "there will be no revenge on anyone."

BBC anchor Yalda Hakim on Q&A.
BBC anchor Yalda Hakim has opened up about a disturbing conversation she had with Taliban frontline commanders. Source: ABC/Q&A

Mr Shaheen also said women will have access to education and employment but must wear a hijab. The Taliban reiterated comments in a later press conference.

However, during an appearance on ABC's Q&A on Thursday night, Ms Hakim revealed Taliban leaders had made devastating statements about women's rights to her during an interview three weeks ago. 

"[The] extraordinary press conference that the Taliban had a few days ago, it was very similar to what I've heard the Taliban say before," Ms Hakim said. 

"They said it to me on air, they said it to me face to face when I travelled to Doha — they said that women would have their rights and there wouldn't be any revenge attacks or reprisals.

"But I spent the better part of three weeks in Afghanistan a few weeks ago ... and I sat down with Taliban frontline commanders who are fighting this war at the moment," she said, adding that she asked him a series of questions about the group's goals.

"He said to me, 'we want to return to the kind of role that we had in the 90s', so when I asked about, for example, if a woman was accused of adultery — now, adultery, based on whose judgement — he said 'well of course we would have stonings'."

Taliban fighters display their flag while holding weapons in Kabul. Source: AP Photo/Rahmat Gul
Taliban fighters display their flag while on patrol in Kabul, Afghanistan. Source: AP Photo/Rahmat Gul

"He said we would have public executions ... using sort of soccer stadiums to do that kind of thing.

"There would be amputation of hands and feet if someone were to commit the crime of theft. He said 'this is all laid out in the Quran. This is all part of our Sharia law. And if you want to live within it, great. If not, you'll face, or face the kind of reprisals that you need to'," Ms Hakim said.

The journalist's time reporting in Afghanistan before the takeover was featured on Foreign Correspondent prior to her appearance on the Q&A panel.

Suhail Shaheen
Suhail Shaheen rang BBC host Yalda Hakim when she was live on air. Source: Reuters via AAP

Woman 'killed for not wearing burqa'

Afghan women have been vocal about their fear that the rights they have enjoyed for the past 20 years will be taken away. 

On Wednesday, it was reported a woman had been killed in Taloqan, Takhar province, last week because she left her home without wearing a burqa.

A graphic photo of the woman was shared on social media on August 9 when two Afghan lawmakers from Takhar confirmed its capital, Taleqan, had fallen to the Taliban. A source for the image has yet to be confirmed.

Also on Wednesday, CNN reported that a mum of four, Najia, from northern Afghanistan, had been beaten and killed by Taliban members when she refused to cook for them. 

Najia's daughter Manizha, 25, said her mum told her the Taliban had come to their home multiple times and demanded she cook for a group of 15.

"My mother told them, 'I am poor, how can I cook for you?'" Manizha said. 

"[The Taliban] started beating her. My mother collapsed, and they hit her with their guns — AK47s."

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