A pregnant journalist left stranded in Afghanistan has been forced to turn to the Taliban for help after being unable to return home to New Zealand.
Since learning of her pregnancy back in Septmber, broadcast jounalist Charlotte Bellis said she has tried repeatedly to return to New Zealand but has been turned down because of draconian covid restrcitions imposed by Prime Minister Jacinda Arden
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Bellis said it was “brutally ironic” that she’d once questioned the Taliban about their treatment of women and she was now asking the same questions of her own government.
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The Mail Online reports: She has submitted 59 documents to New Zealand officials in Afghanistan in an attempt to secure an emergency return home, but her bid was turned down and led her to turn to the Taliban, one of the world’s most oppressive regimes, for sympathy.
It’s a particularly cruel twist of fate for the woman who was revered worldwide for her fearless questioning of the jihadist group’s previous record on women’s rights.
To add insult to injury, Ms Bellis has warned that pregnancy can be a death sentence in Taliban-controlled Afghanistan because of the poor state of maternity care and lack of surgical capabilities.
Speaking to 1News about her situation, Ms Bellis asked: ‘To the NZ Government, I ask what do you want me to do? I have done nothing wrong I got pregnant and I am a New Zealander.
‘At what point did we get so bogged down in these rules we’ve come up with that we can’t see that she’s a Kiwi in need of help and she needs to come home?’
Although the spread of Covid-19 has been limited in New Zealand and just 52 deaths have been reported since the start of the pandemic, the nation still requires citizens to spend 10 days in isolation hotels run by the military.
The ‘zero Covid’ policy has repeatedly come under fire and the strict self-isolation restrictions have now caused a backlog of thousands of people desperate to return home.
Ms Bellis has become one of the most high-profile Kiwis to fall victim to New Zealand’s extreme border controls, as Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and her government face further embarrassment over their own policies.
Writing in the New Zealand Herald on Saturday, Ms Bellis said it was ‘brutally ironic’ that while she had once questioned the Taliban about their treatment of women, she was now asking the same questions of her own government.
‘When the Taliban offers you – a pregnant, unmarried woman – safe haven, you know your situation is messed up,’ she wrote.
Jacinda Ardern has faced a slew of criticism from campaigners and members of the public after imposing strict Covid curbs since the start of the pandemic.