CNN Correspondent Clarissa Ward was forced to undergo a dramatic wardrobe shift after the Taliban overtook Afghanistan’s capital city of Kabul, showcasing how women’s rights appeared to change overnight in Afghanistan.
On August 15, Ward — who remains reporting on the ground in Kabul — can be seen on CNN wearing a pink shirt and a darker pink neck scarf. On August 16, Ward appeared on the network in a black hijab outdoors.
Missouri Republican Rep. Vicky Hartzler said on Twitter that the correspondent’s wardrobe shift is an inside look at the future of Afghan women. Under the leadership of Ashraf Ghani, the president of Afghanistan who was forced to flee following Taliban control, women were given freedoms somewhat unknown to many in repressive Islamic states.
“This is CNN Correspondent Clarissa Ward’s dress code in Afghanistan yesterday compared to today — showcasing just how crushing Joe Biden’s incompetence will be for the future of Afghan women,” Hartzler said.
This is CNN Correspondent Clarissa Ward's dress code in Afghanistan yesterday compared to today — showcasing just how crushing Joe Biden's incompetence will be for the future of Afghan women. pic.twitter.com/cjaN9FvowV
— Rep. Vicky Hartzler (@RepHartzler) August 16, 2021
After the photos circulated online, Ward clarified through Twitter that, although her clothing has changed, she typically wears different clothing in private and public settings anyway. “The top photo is inside a private compound. The bottom is on the streets of Kabul. I always wore a head scarf on the street in Kabul previously, though not [with] hair fully covered and abbaya. So there is a difference but not quite this stark,” she said.
The sentiment that women will be set back by the Taliban’s ideology was mirrored by BBC News anchor and correspondent Yalda Hakim, who tweeted that women in Afghanistan were being turned away from school and work. Female students in Herat were specifically being told not to enter university grounds.
“Women in Herat, now under Taliban control are telling me when they tried to enter the grounds of their University today they were told to go home,” Hakim tweeted. “Women working in offices also turned away. Schools have been shut down. 60 percent of University students in Herat were women.”
Ward is one of the few journalists who remain in Afghanistan covering the complete power shift in the region by the Taliban. In one video, Ward can be seen covering Taliban fighters who were chanting “death to America.” She described the scene as “bizarre” as the fighters were allegedly “friendly” to the U.S. news team.
“They’re just chanting ‘death to America,’ but they seem friendly at the same time. It’s utterly bizarre,” Ward said.
CNN reporter: "They're just chanting death to America, but they seem friendly at the same time" pic.twitter.com/MKPm5QDN1w
— Caleb Hull (@CalebJHull) August 16, 2021
Ward’s coverage is taking place as Taliban militants are reportedly searching for Afghan officials, military members, and others who worked with the United States and other western countries. The Taliban militants are also reportedly seeking out journalists.
The Daily Wire’s Tim Pearce reported:
While the terrorist group has promised safety and publicly called for a “peaceful” transfer of power, refugees who flocked to Kabul prior to its fall said that the Taliban has already begun forced marriages and executions in outlying cities and towns.
“Taliban started door to door search looking for govt officials, former police & security forces members & those who worked for foreign countries NGS or infrastructures in Afghanistan. At least 3 journalists’ houses were searched in the last hour. Kabul is now becoming deadly,” one Kabul-based journalist tweeted on Monday. “This is a game-changer for us all. Many have started counting their final hours of life in Kabul. Nobody knows what happens next. Pray for us.”
This article has been updated to include a statement from Clarissa Ward.