CNN’s Clarissa Ward departs Afghanistan after Taliban coverage
CNN’s chief international correspondent Clarissa Ward is leaving Afghanistan after spending days on the streets of Kabul providing detailed reports following the Taliban’s takeover of the country.
Ward tweeted a picture from inside an evacuation flight out of Kabul’s airport shortly after 2 a.m. local time Saturday morning, showing dozens of other individuals on board as well.
“On our flight and getting ready for takeoff,” she wrote.
On our flight and getting ready for takeoff pic.twitter.com/bGaYREsbxT
— Clarissa Ward (@clarissaward) August 20, 2021
Ward has been covering the Taliban and has faced some tense moments with members of the militant group in Kabul, with one Taliban fighter almost pistol-whipping her producer this week.
“People have been saying, ‘Oh this woman is fearless,’ and I’m really not. I’m very fearful and I don’t like being in situations where bullets are flying. … I flinch every time I hear a gunshot. I hate gunfire just like anybody does,” Ward told The Hill in an interview this week.
Ward, 41, could be seen questioning Taliban members who came up and accosted her and her crew.
“Can I ask you a question?” she asked one Taliban member. “Excuse me.”
Ward’s presence in the country’s capital days after the Taliban took control was also notable given that women and journalists are particularly vulnerable groups that the Taliban have gone after in the past.
“I’m so glad you’re getting on a plane to get out, and I just want to say, on behalf of everybody here at CNN and everybody who’s been watching CNN, your reporting has been brave and amazing. … We are so lucky to have you as a colleague,” CNN anchor Jake Tapper said in a call with Ward while she was heading out of the country.
>> @JakeTapper to @ClarissaWard in Kabul: “I’m so glad you’re getting on a plane to get out, and I just want to say, on behalf of everybody here at CNN and everybody who’s been watching CNN, your reporting has been brave and amazing…We are so lucky to have you as a colleague.” pic.twitter.com/mNRDBggmoO
— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) August 20, 2021
It was not immediately clear where Ward and her crew were heading. The Hill has reached out to CNN for comment.
Many other journalists had left the country earlier this week as the U.S. continues to evacuate thousands of Americans and Afghan allies in flights out of the Kabul airport.
“It’s been a pretty mind-bending trip, honestly,” Ward told The Hill this week. “It certainly felt like we had a front-row seat to history and it’s an extraordinary moment to witness.”