Afghan TV anchor seen selling food by the roadside in poverty-struck Afghanistan

Musa Mohammadi has an ill mother to feed, says his colleague

Alisha Rahaman Sarkar
Friday 17 June 2022 14:11 BST
Related: Meet Afghanistan’s first female rapper

Dire poverty in Afghanistan has forced a former television journalist to sell food by the roadside to make ends meet.

Musa Mohammadi who was reportedly an anchor and reporter with local media outlet Ariana News was photographed selling a tray full of bolani (stuffed flatbread) to earn his living.

Kabir Haqmal, who had worked with the Hamid Karzai government, tweeted photos of the former journalist.

“Journalists life in Afghanistan under the Taliban,” he wrote.

“Musa Mohammadi worked for years as anchor & reporter in different TV channels, now has no income to fed his family. & sells street food to earn some money (sic),” he added.

Mohammadi has taken to selling food to feed his ailing mother, said his former colleague M Ibrahim Momand.

The Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan on 15 August has led to an economic collapse, pushing the country into an abyss of poverty and hunger.

Under the rule of the Islamist fundamentalists, nearly 97 per cent of the country’s population has been projected to fall into poverty by mid-2022, the UN Development Programme said.

After Mr Haqmal’s tweet went viral, director-general of National Radio and Television Ahmadullah Wasiq, offered a job to the journalist.

“As a matter of fact, as the director of the National Radio and Television, I assure him that we will appoint him within the framework of the National Radio and Television,” Mr Wasiq tweeted in Urdu.

“We need all Afghan professionals.”

The status of journalists has deteriorated since the Taliban wrested power. There have been reports of the group intimidating and assaulting journalists, while the organisation recently forced women television anchors to cover their faces with a veil.

Earlier this month, the Taliban’s forces assaulted journalist Reza Shahir in Kabul and in May, charged journalists Firoz Ghafori, Basira Mosamem and Olugh Beig Ghafori with “criminal insult”.

Media watchdog International Federation of Journalists has raised an alarm over the disappearance of journalists Ali Akbar Khairkhwa and Jamaluddin Deldar, who went missing on 24 May.

In February, the UN said that the Taliban had arrested two Afghan journalists working for Ariana TV. Reporters Waris Hasrat and Aslam Hijab were picked up by the Taliban “and taken to an unknown location”.

The Committee to Protect Journalists had called for the Taliban to release the two journalists and cease detaining members of the press.

Following international uproar, the Taliban subsequently released the journalists, according to Ariana TV’s chief.

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