Afghan journalist Nazira Karimi breaks down at Pentagon briefing

Afghan journalist breaks down in tears at Pentagon briefing as she demands to know ‘Where is my president?’

  • Nazira Karimi, an Afghan Reporter based at the State Department in Washington D.C. broke down as she posed a question during a press briefing on Monday
  • Karimi said how she was feeling as she removed an Afghan flag face mask 
  • Karimi has reported from Washington D.C. for 16 years working as a reporter on Afghanistan National TV
  • Twitter users showed sympathy with Afghan native as she demanded answers 

A female Afghan journalist broke down in tears as she proceeded to ask a question during a State Department briefing on Monday afternoon.

For Nazira Karimi, an Afghan Reporter at the Ariana Television Network journalist, her question was personal.

She began by telling the briefing room how she was feeling: ‘I’m very upset today because Afghan women didn’t that expect overnight that all the Taliban would come. They took off my flag. This is my flag,’ Karimi said through tears while taking off her facemask with the flag of Afghanistan emblazoned on it. 

Over the weekend the Afghan government collapsed following the U.S. withdrawal of troops. 

The Taliban surged back into Kabul with many now fearing the extremist group will impose their strict interpretation of Islam, which was especially repressive to women and girls. 

‘They put up their flag. Everybody is upset. Especially women. Where is my president? Former President Ghani?’ Karimi demanded to know.

Nazira Karimi, an Afghan Reporter based at the State Department in Washington D.C. broke down in tears as she posed a question during a press briefing on Monday 

Karimi told how she was feeling as she removed an Afghan flag facemask from her mouth 

‘People expected that he would fight with the people but he ran away immediately. We don’t know where he is, and we don’t have a president.’ Karimi continued.

‘We don’t have any president, we don’t have anything. The Afghan people don’t know what to do. Women have a lot of achievements in Afghanistan. I have a lot of achievement. I left from the Taliban 20 years and now we go back to the first step. President Ghani should answer to the Afghan people.’ 

Karimi began her career as a reporter on Afghanistan National TV before becoming a correspondent with BBC Persian, Radio Free Europe.

On Monday, her question was for asked on behalf of the Ariana Television Network, a private television network based in Kabul, Afghanistan for whom she has filed reports for the past 16 years.  

Karimi’s heartbreaking question was met with sympathy by Pentagon Spokesperson John Kirby.

‘I understand the anxiety, fear and pain you must be feeling. It is clear and nobody at the Pentagon is happy about the images we are seeing. We are all mindful of the type of governance the Taliban is capable of. A lot of us have spent time in Afghanistan. Everything you are seeing in the last 72 to 48 hours is personal for everybody here at the Pentagon,’ Kirby began. 

‘We too have invested greatly and the progress women and girls have made politically, economically and socially and we certainly understand and feel the pain you’re feeling. We’re focused right now on making sure we do the best we can for those Afghans who helped us. We are going to do everything we can to honor our obligation to helped make all that progress possible. I am truly sorry for your pain,’ Kirby said.   

After former President Ghani fled, he explained in a Facebook post he left the country to prevent clashes with the Taliban and avoid more bloodshed.

But his decision has left Afghanistan without its leader in its hour of need.

After the country’s security situation rapidly deteriorated, Taliban fighters began roaming the streets.

For those watching the press briefing, there was a huge outpouring of sympathy on Twitter

For those watching the press briefing, there was a huge outpouring of sympathy on Twitter.   

‘Wow – a female Afghan reporter asking a question of @PentagonPresSec at the Pentagon briefing just now, breaks down in tears over the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan and the fate of women and girls across the country,’ wrote Lara Seligman, a reporter for Politico.

‘The pain in her voice absolutely killed me.’ wrote Bridget Phetasy.

‘She at least called out the fleeing Afghan President for deserting the Afghans,’ said one Twitter user. 

‘My heart breaks for the female Afghan reporter at the Pentagon. She’s wearing an Afghan flag facemask and said, ‘they took this down, our flag and replaced it…where is our president?’ She knows that her country is gone and her safety among those in her circle are in jeopardy,’ wrote another.

‘That was hard to watch,’ ‘I’m in tears’ and ‘So very sad to hear the heartbreak in her voice,’ wrote other social media users.  

Nazir Karimi is pictured asking a question to President Barack Obama and the former President of Afghanistan Hamid Karzai, left

Karimi can often be seen in the Pentagon press briefing room 

Karimi is seen one of a number of colorful shots on her social media pages

In an address earlier in the day, President Biden said he stands by his decision to pull out American troops and cast blame on the Afghan government for failing to defend the country.

The Taliban’s siege leaves Afghan women and girls in a vulnerable position with the possibility of losing hard-won rights to education, employment and everyday freedoms.

The Biden administration has faced sharp criticism over its response to the rapid collapse and the U.S.’s chaotic evacuation effort.

President Biden criticized Ghani during his address to the nation on Monday, stating  Ghani was ‘wrong’ in his assessment of Afghan forces’ ability to fight the Taliban.

‘When I hosted the president Ghani and chairman of Abdullah at the White House in June, and again when I spoke by phone to Ghani in July, we had very frank conversations. We talked about how Afghanistan should prepare to fight their civil wars after the U.S. military departed, to clean up the corruption in government so the government could function for the Afghan people. We talked extensively about the need for Afghan leaders to unite politically. They failed to do any of that,’ Biden said.

‘I also urged them to engage in diplomacy, to seek a political settlement with the Taliban. This advice was flatly refused. Mr. Ghani insisted that the Afghan forces would fight. But obviously he was wrong,’ Biden added.

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