What is Life Like Under The Taliban in Afghanistan?
UPDATE: On March 1, 2020 the United States and the Taliban signed an agreement in which the United States promises to withdraw troops from Afghanistan. For their part, the Taliban agreed to prevent international terrorist groups, like al Qaeda and ISIS from operating in Taliban controlled territory. In the agreement with the United States, the Taliban did not agree to give up any territory it gained during the 19 years of civil war, meaning that this in Global Dispatches podcast episode that offers a glimpse into the daily life of people living under Taliban rule is as poignant as ever.
I caught up with CNN’s Chief International Correspondent Clarissa Ward not long after she returned from reporting inside Taliban controlled territory in Afghanistan. She is one of the only western journalists to access Taliban territory to see what life is like under their control. She interviewed both civilians and Taliban officials and is on the Global Dispatches podcast to discuss her reporting.
We kick off discussing the story behind her story: that is, how an unprecedented reporting project like this can be carried out in a volatile security environment? We also discuss how she and her team navigated gender dynamics inherent in a female journalist interviewing Taliban officials. We then talk through some of her key findings about how the Taliban have evolved over the last 17 years.
Her report comes at a vital time as the US and Taliban officials are negotiating face to face, and as Clarissa Ward explains, the fact of those ongoing negotiations helps provide some context for her reporting.
CNN aired her report in late February, titled 36 Hours With The Taliban. Listen to our conversation about her reporting from behind Taliban Lines.
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Listen back to our 2016 conversation about life in Aleppo, Syria during the height of the siege.