21 August 2021

Ex-BBC journalist ‘targeted by Taliban’ seeks escape from Afghanistan

21 August 2021

A journalist who worked for the BBC for many years is being actively targeted by the Taliban, campaigners trying to organise their safe evacuation have said.

The Afghan national, who has not been named for security reasons, is said to be trapped in Kabul after working for the UK broadcaster in the past.

Jen Wilson, chief operating officer of Army Week Association in New York, has been working to aid the reporter’s evacuation as part of the #DigitalDunkirk campaign – an online coordinated effort by those connected with the military to help people flee Afghanistan

She said they are a “high-value target” for the Taliban and the group travelled to their home on Tuesday to kill them – but they had left.

They now face a perilous task to reach the airport.

“(The Taliban) like it when American TV journalists are on the ground because then they get to speak to the West, but they hate indigenous journalists, especially ones that were in bed with allied forces,” the 35-year-old told the PA news agency.

“For some of these guys they’re only sending out their snatch teams of five in a car… they roll up to a house and if they’re if their target is there, they kill them there.

“If it’s a high-value target, they’re rolling up in snatch teams of 20… and kill them at their house or in the street or wherever they can find them.”

Jen Wilson said Taliban fighters are hunting down high-priority targets (Muhammad Sajjad/AP)

A BBC spokesperson said: “The BBC is doing everything it can to secure the safety of our teams in Afghanistan.

“All the relevant expertise and resources across the BBC and with external parties are currently dedicated to this task.

“We pay tribute to all our teams who have been covering this story, under extraordinary circumstances. We want the BBC to be able to continue reporting on Afghanistan, its people and the region more broadly and bring these important stories to the world.”

Ms Wilson, whose team has already coordinated the evacuation of 30 from Kabul, said the Taliban are “doing recon” and have been finding targets – including some of those she has been trying to help escape.

“I lost one yesterday to the Taliban,” she said.

“Kabul is becoming more and more dangerous every 30 minutes.

“When we say that they’re being hunted, we aren’t joking… it is not an exaggeration.”

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