Monday, May 23

A pregnant New Zealander, unable to return home due to Covid-19, welcomed by the Taliban in Afghanistan

A pregnant New Zealand journalist told this Sunday, January 30, that she was welcomed by the Taliban in Afghanistan, having been unable to return to her country to give birth there due to anti-Covid regulations.

“I felt betrayed” by New Zealand, Charlotte Bellis said in an interview with Radio New Zealand from Kabul.

In an open letter published by the New Zealand Herald, Charlotte Bellis explained that she worked for the Al-Jazeera channel in Afghanistan. On returning to Doha, where the headquarters of this media is located, she realized that she was expecting a child.

As it is illegal in Qatar to be pregnant outside of marriage, she kept her pregnancy a secret while preparing for her return to New Zealand.

However, this country, which closed its borders in March 2020 due to the pandemic, is only allowing its own nationals to return in dribs and drabs.

When the journalist learned that she could not benefit from any derogation to return, Charlotte Bellis called senior Taliban officials. The latter then offered her to come and give birth in their country, where her spouse, a Belgian photographer, is based.

“You won’t have any problems”

“We are happy for you, you can come and you will have no problem,” the Taliban assured her, she said in an interview.

They added “don’t worry. Everything will be fine,” she told the New Zealand Herald.

“When I was in need, the New Zealand government told me that I was not welcome,” lamented the journalist.

Chris Hipkins, New Zealand’s Covid-19 Minister, said in a statement that he had asked officials to check whether all procedures had been followed correctly in Ms Bellis’ case, ” which seemed at first sight to deserve further explanation”.

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