'Mind-blowing': TV host receives call from Taliban live on-air

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A BBC World News anchor received a call from a Taliban spokesperson while she was live on-air, assuring her that there will be "no revenge" on the people of Afghanistan.

Afghan-born TV host, Yalda Hakim, who emigrated to Australia in the 1980s, was reporting live when she received a call from Taliban spokesperson Suhail Shaheen, just hours before the Taliban stormed the Afghanistan capital of Kabul.

“There should not be any confusion, we assure the people of Afghanistan in the city of Kabul, that their properties and their lives are safe,” he told her on speakerphone, adding: "There will be no revenge on anyone."

A BBC World News anchor Yalda Haki received a call from a Taliban spokesperson while reporting live on air. Source: BBC
A BBC World News anchor Yalda Haki received a call from a Taliban spokesperson while reporting live on air. Source: BBC

"We are the servants of the people and of this country.

“Our leadership have instructed our forces to remain at the gate of Kabul, not to enter the city.

“We are awaiting a peaceful transfer of power.”

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

Plans for the 'future government'

Ms Hakim spoke to the spokesperson for 30 minutes, asking him about the future of the war-torn country.

The spokesman did not rule out that public executions and amputation punishments could be used, and confirmed that the country will return to the extreme version of Islamic Sharia law.

"I can't say right now, that's up to the judges in the courts and the laws," he said.

"The judges will be appointed according to the law of the future government."

Mr Shaheen said women will have access to education and employment but must wear a hijab.

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Ms Hakim was praised around the world for the interview, with people applauding her composure and careful questioning.

"That BBC Taliban interview is just mind-blowing. All 32 minutes of it. Yalda Hakim is an absolute boss," broadcaster Aasmah Mir tweeted.

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"Have never witnessed anything quite like what happened in studio this morning, pointing our guest mic at [Yalda Hakim's] own mobile phone as a Taliban spokesman rang it in the middle of her juggling another live interview," her BBC colleague wrote.

"Timing is everything, there was no rearranging this."

Taliban seize control of Afghanistan 

The Taliban seized control of Afghanistan in a lightning-fast takeover that took just over a week.

The insurgents stormed across the country, capturing all major cities in a matter of days. The Afghanistan government that has run the country for 20 years collapsed and President Ashraf Ghani fled Afghanistan saying he wanted to avoid bloodshed.

During these five years, the rights of women and girls were stripped with cruel corporal punishments enforced, including executions; and the extreme suppression of freedom of religion, expression, and education.

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