Veteran reporter warns that the Taliban are enforcing their power with a vengeance.

Lynne ODonnell, a seasoned correspondent covering Afghanistan, claims she has never witnessed the Taliban being more ruthless or the millions of people the austere fighters are once again in charge of being more miserable.

I truly never anticipated finding it to be as terrible and unpleasant as I did. She revealed that she had to recant shocking stories about the hardline Islamic group, calling it a “very sad, unhappy, traumatized, depressed place.”

Regarding the Taliban’s evolution from their first period of rule more than 20 years ago, she remarked, “They’re worse.

The journalist from Australia was speaking on the phone after being expelled from Afghanistan after only four days in Kabul. Following a visit from Taliban intelligence operatives who, according to her, took her to their headquarters on July 19 and demanded she turn over her sources for earlier reports, her description of her experiences there attracted considerable media attention.

ODonnell claimed that she was interrogated by four officers in a disorganized office as they demanded that she apologize for reporting from 2021, specifically those that dealt with youngsters being coerced into a life of sexual servitude to Taliban fighters and members of the Afghan LGBTQ community.

She claimed she was compelled to retract her Twitter posts on the Taliban and apologize for three or four reports that claimed authorities were forcing adolescent girls into marriage.

In a follow-up tweet, it was said that there was no effort to verify the claims through on-site inquiry or face-to-face contacts with alleged victims and that there was no substantial evidence or basis for the stories.

Every time I tried to defend myself, I was yelled down once again. I had been abused, harassed, and ordered to explain myself. She claimed that I had been accused of working for governmental intelligence services. She claimed that throughout her four hours of imprisonment, a shooter was constantly in view.

ODonnell said that she was coerced into meeting with the police when they threatened to share her image and personal information with border patrol stations across the nation in order to prevent her from fleeing.

The following day, four days before her initial flight out, she departed the Afghan capital.
The Taliban have a history of intimidating local journalists into writing positive stories and threatening them if their reporting is seen to be too harsh.

ODonnell’s detention was disputed by a Taliban spokesman last week, but he added that she was no longer permitted to go back to Afghanistan because she was not working in journalism.

Bilal Karimi refuted her assertions in statements to NBC News, charging the journalist with taking part in a propaganda effort by “enemy of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan.”

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