BBC Presenter Receives Call From Taliban Spokesperson Live On Air, Interviews Him for 33 Minutes
07:02 GMT 17.08.2021 (Updated: 19:37 GMT 19.10.2022)
© AP Photo / Frank AugsteinIn this file photo dated Wednesday, July 19, 2017, an entrance to the headquarters of the publicly funded BBC in London. Britain’s government announced Wednesday Feb. 5, 2020, that it is considering a change in the way the nation's public broadcaster, the BBC is funded
© AP Photo / Frank Augstein
The impromptu interview lasted for more than half an hour and was held on the day the Taliban entered Kabul.
BBC Presenter Yalda Hakim, who fled Afghanistan as a child with her family, received the impromptu call from Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen on her mobile phone on 15 August while live on air.
"We have got the Taliban's spokesman Suhail Shaheen on the line. Mr Shaheen, can you hear me?", the correspondent said, after which she immediately put the phone next to a microphone so that viewers could hear Shaheen's claims about victory as the Taliban regained control over Kabul after 20 years in exile.
"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, there will be no revenge on anyone. We are the servants of the people and of this country", the Taliban spokesperson stated during the interview, which lasted for around 33 minutes.
Shaheen also revealed that the Taliban leadership had instructed militants to remain at the gates of Kabul, not to enter the city so a peaceful transfer of power could be carried out. The transfer involved handing over the country to the "Islamic Emirate" of Afghanistan, Shaheen told Yalda Hakim.
When asked to rule out the former regime's brutal repression methods, such as public executions and amputation of limbs, Shaheen refused to do so, saying it is up "to the judges in the courts and the laws".
Some of Hakim's fellow colleagues praised her for holding the "mind-blowing" interview.
— Aasmah Mir (@AasmahMir) August 15, 2021
— Matthew Champion (@matthewchampion) August 16, 2021
— Joshua Tindall (@JoshuaTindall) August 15, 2021
*The Taliban is a terrorist organisation banned in Russia and many other nations.