All About Yalda Hakim: The Journalist Who Received Call From Taliban On Live TV

Who is Yalda Hakim
Who is Yalda Hakim? Islamist group Taliban has broke its silence following the capture of Kabul and all the major cities in Afghanistan which led to a shift in power, in the war torn nation. Taliban’s spokesperson Suhail Shaheen called a BBC journalist, Yalda Hakim, on air, to discuss the group’s future goals. The journalist, who was also stunned to receive the call, has received overwhelming praise after she expertly handled the call while she was presenting live.

The anchor was in the middle of conducting an interview when she received a call from the Taliban who have taken control over Afghanistan’s capital city Kabul on August 15. Suhail Shaheen confirmed his identity on air and promised Hakim that the group would bring “peace” and are “servants to the people and of this country”. However, Shaheen went on to add that the country must return to the extreme version of Islamic Sharia law that decrees that men and women should dress modestly and advocates tough punishments when the rules are flouted

Asking Shaheen about the chaos and confusion reigning in Kabul due to shift in power Yalda enquired, “Can you just help us understand what the Taliban plan to do at present, and next?”

He further went on to claim that the Taliban will take “no action on women” and will allow girls to continue studying after Hakim said she had received numerous calls, text message and emails from concerned Afghan women. Shaheen stressed that women will have access to education and employment, but they must wear a hijab.

What Suhail Shaheen told Yald Hakim in the interview:

  • There will be no revenge on anyone
  • We are the servants of the people and of this country
  • We are awaiting a peaceful transfer of power
  • Our leadership has instructed our forces to remain at the gate of the Kabul, not to enter the city
  • Properties and lives of people living in Afghanistan, especially Kabul are safe.

Who is Yalda Hakim?

Afghanistan-born anchor Yalda Hakim and her parents fled from the country in the mid-1980s when she was only six months old. Her architect father and mother made the tough decision to go on foot to nearby Pakistan during the Afghan-Soviet war. The family were on the road for ten days putting Hakim and her mom on one horse and her older brother and sister on one other. Upon reaching Pakistan, they decided to stay there for two years before they were sponsored by an Australian couple to move to New South Wales.

The 38-year-old news anchor studied at Macarthur Girls High School in Parramatta and graduated with a journalism degree from Sydney’s Macleay College.

Hakim received a cadetship at broadcasting network SBS before she moved to London and started working at BBC in 2012. The reporter had visited her native country Afghanistan in 2008 and again in 2013 to interview then-Afghanistan president Hamid Karzai. She has been felicitated the United Nations Media Peace Prize and now fronts the flagship BBC program “Impact”.

Feature Image Credit: BBC live screengrab

Suggested Reading:

“Been A Fierce Taliban Critic. Don’t Know If I’ll Survive Now” — Afghan Women Activists

“No One Cares About Us” Afghan Girl Tears Up In Viral Video As Taliban Advances

Afghan Women Artists Took On Patriarchy For Years. What Now, Under Taliban?