My name is Hujatullah Zia and I am a senior reporter for the Afghan Daily Lookout. I was a journalist before the Taliban took over Kabul, and now I will continue to do my job as a journalist.
Unlike in the past, the Taliban, while allowing the media to operate, still impose restrictions. While the private media retain most of their freedoms and rights, all activities serve the unity and stability of the Taliban.
I will continue to be a journalist, but I will pay more attention to whether what I say is contrary to Taliban policy.
There is no more laughter from young women in the coffee shop
On August 15th, the day the Taliban took over the capital, Kabul, there was fear and frustration in the air as Taliban soldiers entered the city. But the Taliban leadership ordered no disruption to residents’ lives, and the mood slowly calmed down.
That night, I was walking the streets of Kabul, surrounded by silence, and the coffee shop in the Pul-e-Surkh area was no longer echoing with the laughter of young women.
One thing that disappointed me was that before the Taliban took over Kabul, women could decide what they were wearing and walk the streets at will, but now I can hardly see women in the street, and even if I do, dress carefully.
But the next day, August 16th, the streets looked much better, a little louder than usual.
On August 22nd, watching the bustling streets of the past become empty and I could no longer see the fresh faces, I was dismayed and began to miss the days before the Taliban took over Kabul.
The Taliban impose restrictions on the media
After the Taliban took over Kabul, I really felt a change in the Taliban’s attitude towards the media.
During the 1996-2001 rule, the Taliban were virtually non-allowed to operate the media, but now allow private media to continue to operate independently and freely within the Taliban’s cultural framework.
Moreover, the Taliban are still posting through various channels, and I think there are many reasons behind this: first, the Taliban want to raise their international profile, the international community’s impression of the Taliban is still there before, and second, to ease the mood, the Taliban arrived in Kabul, people will worry, frustration and anxiety. The Taliban are releasing more messages to calm the mood, and people won’t have more complaints about them
Taliban spokesman Mujahid told a news conference that the private media in Afghanistan will retain most of the freedoms and rights, but all activities should serve the unity and stability of the country.
The problem, I think, is that in order to achieve this, the Taliban will impose restrictions on private media. I do see the Taliban censoring the local media these days.
I’m a journalist, and when the Taliban take over Kabul, I’ll stick to my post, but I’ll pay more attention to whether what I usually say is contrary to the Taliban’s ideology, policies and ideas.