CNN's Clarissa Ward accosted by armed 'friendly' Taliban fighter at Kabul airport
CNN chief international correspondent Clarissa Ward aired a clip of being charged by an armed Taliban fighter as she reported from the grounds of Kabul, following the Islamic military group's takeover of Afghanistan.
In her report, Ward said that she and her crew were “accosted” just outside of the Kabul Airport and she was forced to cover her face. The clip she shared showed a Taliban member running through a crowd of people after taking the safety off of his AK-47. She also showed a clip of a Taliban member charging her and a producer with the butt of a gun.“You can see that some of these Taliban fighters, they’re just hopped up on adrenaline or I don’t know what,” Ward said. “It’s a very dicey situation.”
Here's the moment that @clarissaward and crew were confronted by the Taliban on the streets of Kabul. pic.twitter.com/2ueKYbR8xg— Oliver Darcy (@oliverdarcy) August 18, 2021
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She added, “When the fighters are told we have permission to report, they lower their weapons and let us pass.” Ward told CNN anchor Jake Tapper that she and her crew have been “exposed to all sorts of insanity." "And you can imagine, Jake, I mean, this is us. We are a news crew. We are clearly Western. And still, we were exposed to all sorts of insanity. If you’re an ordinary Afghan trying to get past those Taliban guards and trying to get into the airport, I mean, I just don’t see how you’re able to do it. I don’t see how you’re able to really get in unless you have some kind of a contact or a connection or you’re able to arrange something somehow. Frankly, Jake, there’s no real hope,” she added.
Ward created headlines a week back when she was slammed for calling the Taliban 'friendly'. While reporting on August 16, Ward said, “They’re just chanting ‘Death to America’ but they seem friendly at the same time.” Describing the scene as bizarre, Ward noted that although the Taliban terrorists appeared friendly, the “welcoming spirit only extends so far and my presence soon creates tension.”
Ward Blasts Biden: 'What does failure look like?'
While speaking about a New York Times report that noted that Taliban soldiers are now going door-to-door seeking Afghans who assisted the United States, Ward also blasted President Joe Biden on Thursday and questioned the president’s conclusion that the Afghan withdrawal is not a “failure.”
Her comments came after Biden was asked during his interview with ABC News’s George Stephanopoulos Wednesday night, whether the withdrawal could be considered a “failure," given that the Taliban have now taken over the country and the US is scrambling to evacuate American citizens and Afghan nationals with special visas. The question seemed to have made Biden visibly angry.
CNN reporter on situation in Afghanistan:— The First (@TheFirstonTV) August 19, 2021
"If this isn't failure then what does failure look like?" pic.twitter.com/qg7uk7neQD
“Look, I don’t think it was a failure. Look, it was a simple choice, George. When you had the government of Afghanistan, the leader of that government getting on a plane taking off and going to another country, when you saw the significant collapse of the Afghan troops we had trained — that’s what happened, that’s simply what happened,” he said. “I don’t think it could have been handled in a way that, we’re gonna go back in hindsight and look… but the idea that somehow there’s a way to have gotten out without chaos ensuing, I don’t know how that happens. I don’t know how that happened.”
Commenting on Biden's defense, Ward detailed a diatribe about the things she’s witnessed since the fall of Afghanistan into the Taliban's hands, asking “if this isn’t failure, what does failure look like?” “The lack of clear information, the rumor mill is in overdrive,” Ward said on CNN Thursday morning. “There’s hysteria. You have Taliban fighters with whips, with guns. You have U.S. and U.K. soldiers who are not allowing people in. You have mixed messaging coming through about what kind of paperwork you need and how you can get on a flight and where you can go. It is just an absolute mess. And we heard President Biden say yesterday in his comments to ABC News that this is not a failure. I think a lot of people outside their airport, particularly those taking the kinds of extreme actions…would like to know if this isn’t failure, what does failure look like, exactly.”