Pregnant New Zealand reporter turns to Taliban for quarantine help

A pregnant New Zealand reporter is turning to the Taliban for help after being stranded in Afghanistan while her home country holds up her return due to its famously stringent coronavirus quarantine system.

In a column published in The New Zealand Herald on Saturday, Charlotte Bellis said it was “brutally ironic” that she once questioned the Taliban about the fundamentalist group’s treatment of women but is now asking the same questions about the New Zealand government.

“When the Taliban offers you — a pregnant, unmarried woman — safe haven, you know your situation is messed up,” Bellis wrote.

Bellis last year was working for Al Jazeera covering the withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan when she gained international attention by questioning Taliban leaders about their treatment of women.

New Zealand’s COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins spearheads the country's strict policy.
New Zealand’s COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins spearheads the country’s strict policy.

New Zealand’s COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins told the Herald his office had asked officials to check if they followed proper procedures in Bellis’ case, “which appeared at first sight to warrant further explanation.”

New Zealand has kept the spread of COVID-19 to a minimum during the pandemic, reporting just 52 virus deaths among its population of 5 million.

With Post wire services.

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