Beheshta Arghand: Tolo News Journo flees Afghanistan after interview with Taliban
Days after Beheshta Arghand became the first female journalist to interview a Taliban spokesperson on live television, the news anchor fled Afghanistan after several members of the media, including her, received intimidating messages from the Taliban.
Tolo News anchor, Arghand, 24, conducted her groundbreaking interview on August 17, 2021. After the interview, she opened up and said that it wasn't easy to sit across from the Taliban spokesman, but "I did it for Afghan women." When the Taliban ruled Afghanistan in the late 1990s and early 2000s, women were oppressed, forced to wear burqas and were not allowed to do most jobs. Arghand said she went to TOLO's offices so the Taliban couldn't say "ladies don't want to work," and when she was face to face with the representative, told him, "We want our rights. We want to work. We want, we must be in society. This is our right."
On August 19, just a few days after interviewing Arghand interviewed activist Malala Yousafzai, who survived being shot by a member of the Taliban in Pakistan, in what TOLO said was Yousafzai's first-ever interview with an Afghan television station. Following her interview with Yousafzai, Arghand said she tried contacting an activist and asked for help escaping Afghanistan, and was able to flee with several of her relatives on a Qatari Air Force evacuation flight. "I left the country because, like millions of people, I fear the Taliban," she said.
Arghand told CNN Business that if the Taliban "do what they said — what they promised — and the situation becomes better, and I know I am safe and there is no threat for me, I will go back to my country and I will work for my country. For my people." TOLO's owner, Saeed Mohseni, told CNN's that nearly every one of the station's "well known reporters and journalists have left. We have been working like crazy to replace them with new people."