A female Afghan journalist begged NATO’s top leader not to recognize the Taliban’s new regime in Afghanistan: ‘Don’t put us again in the same situation’

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg gives a speech during a memorial service at the Oslo Cathedral ten years after the Oslo and Utoeya island bomb attack, in Oslo, Norway, July 22, 2021.
  • A female Afghan journalist broke down in tears during a virtual press conference with NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg.
  • "Please don't recognize the Taliban and don't put us again in the same situation," she said.
  • Sadid is the second Afghan reporter to get emotional while reporting on the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan.
  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

A female Afghan journalist implored the chief of North Atlantic Treaty Organization not to recognize the new Taliban regime after insurgents regained control of the country over the weekend.

On Sunday, Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan, fell to the Taliban after the country's former President Ashraf Ghani fled the nation.

During a virtual press conference with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg on the fall of Kabul, reporter Lailuma Sadid broke into tears about the fate of her country, especially the thousands of women who would be oppressed under Taliban rule.

"As an Afghan woman [and] a normal Afghan citizen, you see the situation as really tough," Sadid said, fighting back tears. "There are thousands of women who already don't know their future, what is going on and what should happen for them," adding, after 20 years, "we are going back [to Taliban rule] again?"

"Please don't recognize the Taliban and don't put us again in the same situation," she said, with a sign posted behind her reading "Afghan Lives Matter."

Stoltenberg responded to Sadid's impassioned line of questioning, first acknowledging that it was an "extremely difficult" decision to pull NATO military presence out of Afghanistan, leaving the country vulnerable to insurgent forces.

"It was difficult because I share your pain, I understand your frustration," he said. "We will continue to support, we will continue to watch, and we will continue to hold the new rulers accountable for living up to fundamental human rights, including, of course, the rights of women."

He described the current situation in Afghanistan as a "tragedy," saying that the country has made major strides socially and politically to fairly integrate women, and that "we all need to make all efforts to try to preserve those gains.

"Generations of men and women, but in particular women, are now educated, are now taking part in political processes, and it will not be easy for new rulers to take away those gains," the secretary general said.

"I understand the anger, but I also have the responsibility to convey the message that the plan of intent was not to stay in Afghanistan forever," he continued. "The plan was to build an Afghan state, an Afghan security force, and to take responsibility for the future of Afghanistan."

"The tragedy was that, after 20 years, we saw a very sudden collapse of Afghan leadership, politically and militarily, that led to the advances of the Taliban."

Sadid is the second journalist to get emotional while reporting on the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan. During a Pentagon briefing earlier this week with Pentagon press secretary John Kirby, another female Afghan reporter expressed grief and frustration over the Taliban's sudden rise to power.

"They took off my flag. This is my flag," she said Monday, motioning to her face mask that had the flag of Afghanistan. "They put their flag. Everybody is upset, especially women."

"Women in Afghanistan have a lot of achievement. I have a lot of achievement," she said. "I lived from the Taliban like 20 years ago. Now we go back to the first step again."

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