Afghanistan reporter says Taliban nearly ‘pistol-whipped’ producer live on air – ‘Mayhem’

CNN crew nearly ‘pistol whipped’ by Taliban fighters

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Clarissa Ward, chief international correspondent for CNN, said the Taliban were ready to “pistol whip” her field producer. However, another fighter arrived in time and prevented an attack.

Field producer Brent Swails was approached by two Taliban fighters when he was filming with his iPhone.

Ms Ward said: “Two Taliban fighters just came up with their pistols, and they were ready to pistol-whip him, and we had to intervene and scream, and it was actually another Taliban fighter who came in said, ‘No, no, no, don’t do that. They’re journalists.”

She added: “There was a consistent stream of gunfire.

“I’ve covered all sorts of crazy situations, this is mayhem.”

CNN reporter

Clarissa Ward (Image: CNN)


Scenes on CNN (Image: CNN)

Opening up about the situation on the ground, Ms Ward said there was no system for identifying people with proper documentation.

She said: “There’s no order, there’s no coherent system, for processing people, separating those with papers from those who don’t have papers.

“To me it’s a miracle that more people haven’t been seriously hurt.”

Thousands have attempted to flee the country after the Taliban finished their conquest of the country by taking the capital, Kabul, on Sunday.

Afghan Civil war

Afghan civil war (Image: Express)

Footage from the airport shows desperate Afghan and foreign nationals scrambling to get out of the country.

Ms Ward said: “It’s so heartbreaking – everybody coming up to us with their papers, their passports, saying ‘please, I worked at Camp Phoenix, I worked at this camp, I was a translator, help me get in, help me get to America, help me get my SIV – my visa, to get out of the country.

“And then the Taliban would just come through, at one stage, this fighter just lifted his gun up into the air as if he was about to start firing so we had to run and take cover.”

Ms Ward’s incident in the country comes as Joe Biden faces the difficult challenge of removing thousands of Afghans and Americans before America’s official withdrawal date of 31 August.

READ MORE: Afghanistan debate LIVE: Incomprehensible! Theresa May blasts Boris

Afghan mapped

Afghanistan mapped (Image: Express)

The CNN reporter’s change of attire was noticed at the weekend while reporting from Kabul during the Taliban’s takeover.

On Monday she was seen dressed in black and wearing a hijab as she spoke on camera.

However, 24 hours beforehand she was seen in a colourful outfit which exposed her arms.

She said: “They just told me to stand to the side because I’m a woman.


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Taliban militants (Image: PA)

“The rapid take down of the Afghan government following the US withdrawal of forces after almost 20 years meant women have been largely staying off the streets.” 

William Murphy

William Murphy

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