- Title: Pulitzer Prize-winning Afghan journalist warns of Taliban atrocities
- Date: 23rd August 2021
- Summary: DORDRECHT, THE NETHERLANDS (AUGUST 21, 2021) (REUTERS) (SOUNDBITE) (English) PULLITZER PRIZE-WINNING AFGHAN JOURNALIST WHO FLED THE COUNTRY, MASSOUD HOSSAINI, SAYING: "So I kind of really scared because, you know, Taliban can find me easily and they would kill me by probably torturing me. That's something that I know because they are not human I think, they look like human but they are not. And that was something that really scared me really much. So I got my car and put everything -- whatever I could -- in my suitcase, the only valuable thing that I took was my camera, my laptop and my harddrives. The rest of whatever I had, even my Pulitzer Prize medal, I had to leave it, my WorldPress medal, I had to leave it because I couldn't take them." SUITCASE HOSSAINI LISTENING TO NEWS REPORT (SOUNDBITE) (English) PULLITZER PRIZE-WINNING AFGHAN JOURNALIST WHO FLED THE COUNTRY, MASSOUD HOSSAINI, SAYING: "I saw that they are not changed. They are really, really worse. I understood that when they forced virgin girls in the villages, in faraway villages, to marry the fighters from the other side of the border, from Pakistan. It means that they just want to bring all the land and everything into Pakistan. And take everything for them. They don't care about the other nationalities. This is genocide, what they do to the other ethnic groups, and that's why I believe war is not finished yet in Afghanistan." HOSSAINI USING PHONE VARIOUS OF HOSSAINI GIVING LIVE INTERVIEW
- Embargoed: 6th September 2021 14:34
- Keywords: Afghanistan NATO Pakistan Taliban genocide interview islamist journalist
- Location: DORDRECHT, THE NETHERLANDS / KABUL, HERAT, BAMIYAN AND BETWEEN BAMIYAN AND SAIGHAN, AFGHANISTAN
- City: DORDRECHT, THE NETHERLANDS / KABUL, HERAT, BAMIYAN AND BETWEEN BAMIYAN AND SAIGHAN, AFGHANISTAN
- Country: Netherlands
- Topics: Conflicts/War/Peace,Europe,Military Conflicts
- Reuters ID: LVA009ERI1PAF
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text:A Pulitzer-prize winning Afghani photographer who escaped Kabul on the day it fell is calling on Western countries to scale up evacuations 20-fold -- and warning that the Taliban will commit atrocities as they consolidate power.
"It has started already," said Massoud Hossaini, who got on the last commercial flight to Istanbul on August 15 and is now in the Netherlands.
"We have reports from some human rights activists that they have started killing Hazara men," he told Reuters on Saturday (August 21), referring to the country's third-largest ethnic group. "This is genocide."
He said the Taliban did the same when they were in power in 1996-2001 and any idea they will behave differently now and not promote their ideology abroad via terrorism or otherwise, is wishful thinking.
Taliban influence is "not something that will stay there," he said.
He said the U.S.'s abrupt withdrawal had sent the Taliban the message "you win," and their victory will inspire other Islamic countries to consider religious government.
"We already had one, Iran, right? This is another one, really, really worse than that."
"They will start funding other groups, or other activities in the world. You won't be safe in The Hague, or Paris, or I don't know, (Washington) D.C. or anywhere else."
Hossaini's last major project before leaving, published in Foreign Policy magazine in July, detailed the behaviour of Taliban fighters after a victory in Bamyan province, west of Kabul.
The group had begun to compile lists of young women, widows, and wives of men who had served in the national armed forces -- a first step toward forced marriages with Taliban fighters or sexual slavery.
Hossaini estimated that up to 200,000 people in the country of 35 million should be evacuated immediately, including not only those that assisted U.S. and NATO troops directly, but public critics of the Taliban, including human rights activists, academics and journalists.
Many more Afghans will want to flee Taliban rule, and the international community should be lobbying the group to let them leave peacefully across the country's land borders after the air campaign is over, according to Hossaini.
The best way to exert any economic pressure on the Taliban may be via Pakistan, Hossaini believes, but he acknowledged that may be ineffective with no military might to back it up.
"So I hope that they just think again. It's not too late now, they can go back. Just to rescue all 35 million people. This is what I really ask and request NATO and European countries and Canada, Australia."
Hossaini won the 2012 Pulitzer for breaking news photography for an image of a girl crying after a suicide bomb attack on a shrine in Kabul.
(Production: Esther Verkaik, Manuel Ausloos)
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