CNN on Tuesday hit out at veteran Republican senator Ted Cruz after the latter put out a tweet criticising the American news network for its coverage of the crisis in Afghanistan.
Mr Cruz retweeted a clip of Clarissa Ward, CNN’s chief international correspondent, reporting from outside the US embassy in Kabul, with Taliban terrorists behind her.
“Is there an enemy of America for whom @CNN WON’T cheerlead? (In mandatory burkas, no less.),” the politician tweeted.
The network’s communications team gave him a sharp rebuttal and defended its coverage and the reporter.
“Rather than running off to Cancun in tough times, @clarissaward is risking her life to tell the world what’s happening. That’s called bravery. Instead of RTing a conspiracy theorist’s misleading soundbite, perhaps your time would be better spent helping Americans in harm’s way,” CNN Communications tweeted.
Rather than running off to Cancun in tough times, @clarissaward is risking her life to tell the world what’s happening. That’s called bravery. Instead of RTing a conspiracy theorist’s misleading soundbite, perhaps your time would be better spent helping Americans in harm’s way.
— CNN Communications (@CNNPR) August 16, 2021
Since the last couple of days, social media users have been circulating two photos of Ms Ward, one where she wears no head covering and another where she wears an abaya. Many users said that this shows the contrast of life in Afghanistan before and after Taliban rule.
On Monday, she clarified that the photo without the head covering was taken inside a private compound and that she always wore a head scarf on the streets of Kabul previously too.
This meme is inaccurate. The top photo is inside a private compound. The bottom is on the streets of Taliban held Kabul. I always wore a head scarf on the street in Kabul previously, though not w/ hair fully covered and abbaya. So there is a difference but not quite this stark. pic.twitter.com/BmIRFFSdSE
— Clarissa Ward (@clarissaward) August 16, 2021
The Taliban on Tuesday said they would not make the full burqa compulsory for women as they did when they last ruled Afghanistan. Its spokesperson did not specify the type of headscarf that would be deemed acceptable by the Taliban.
The Taliban’s rapid conquest of Kabul followed Joe Biden’s decision to withdraw US forces after 20 years of war that he described as costing more than $1 trillion. The speed at which Afghan cities fell, in days rather than the months predicted by US intelligence, and fear of a Taliban crackdown on freedom of speech and human rights, especially women’s rights, have sparked criticism. In a televised address, Mr Biden said he did not regret his decision.