Who is the woman who asks the Taliban about women’s rights?
Clarissa Ward: A name that has been going around the world in the past few weeks. She is a journalist, a mother and until a few days ago she was standing in front of the Taliban with a microphone. A woman whose job demands everything from her and our strong woman of the month.
Together with her colleagues, Clarissa Ward, 41, reports from the streets of Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan. The American and her team from CNN run into danger several times. Shots are fired, they are harassed. As CNN’s chief correspondent, Clarissa Ward has been traveling to the most dangerous places in the world for years. In the past, she interviewed a high-ranking commander of the ISIS-K terrorist group and asked questions that many journalists would avoid. Reporting from the front lines in war and crisis areas is nothing new for the 41-year-old. But everything changed on August 18, 2021. With the Taliban coming to power in Kabul, their dangerous job is now life-threatening.
Clarissa Ward: In direct conversation with the Taliban
The situation in Afghanistan is getting worse. All the more fascinating and almost shocking are the recordings of Ward, who is in direct contact with the Taliban and does not shrink from even the most critical questions. That’s how she speaks in a video for CNN on August 16, 2021, unarmed and wearing a burqa, about women’s rights in Afghanistan and the future of children there. Opposite her are numerous armed men. She remains matter-of-fact and above all calm. There are recordings in which you as Outsiders: r den Holding your breath and wondering: What is going through this woman’s head at such moments? A woman from a wealthy background, a woman who has a husband and children.
Understand the world better
But how do you come up with such a career aspiration? Clarissa Ward is 21 when the World Trade Center collapses. From her dormitory, she followed the shocking scenes of September 11, 2001 on television. As she explains in her book, at this moment a wish is awakened in her: She wants to understand the world better. She becomes an editor at the American broadcaster “Fox News“ and then foreign correspondent in Beirut. Shortly before the abuse scandal scandal about “Fox “boss Roger Ailes Ward leaves the station, works for various news channels and ends up at CNN, where she becomes chief correspondent. Published in 2020 Ward her first book “On Alles Fronts: The Education of a journalist“ and gives an emotional and inspiring insight into their work and their motivation behind the dangerous job.
Clarissa Ward: “The most exciting mission I’ve ever had”
She reports on her missions on Instagram and Twitter, writes: “Sometimes you are there when history is being made.“ She is one of the very few journalists who reported directly from Kabul on site. Their reporting and their courage received approval and recognition from all over the world. But on August 22, 2021, even for the fearless-looking Ward, the situation becomes too delicate. After around 14 hours at the airport in Kabul and several interviews with those affected on site, Ward and her team are in a military plane heading for Doha, Qatar. She shares photos from the overcrowded plane – full of people who don’t know how their lives will go on. Unlike Ward.
“What remains is the guilty conscience of the survivors”
Now Clarissa Ward is back in the USA. United with her children and her husband. But of course they don’t let go of the pictures from Kabul. In an interview with “CNN” presenter Brian Stelter, 35, she is asked what the toughest part of the job is. Your answer is not fear or panic: it is the guilty conscience of the survivors. The fact that – unlike those affected on site – she can return to a secure home, get on a plane and leave all that behind – at least geographically. “If that doesn’t make you question everything, what then?“ That is exactly her duty as a journalist. These moments are the price she has to pay. Moments that she has to come to terms with in order to continue doing her job as she has admirably done over the past few years.
Sources used: own research, twitter.com, instagram.com, cnn.com