Australian BBC presenter gets call from Taliban live on air

An Australian reporter working for the BBC was caught off guard after receiving a call from a Taliban spokesperson while live on air.

After initially scrambling to place a guest microphone near her phone so viewers could hear, Yalda Hakim has garnered praise from colleagues for her smooth and professional response.

Hakim's family fled Afghanistan on horseback when she was a baby. After living in Pakistan for two years she and her family settled in Australia in the mid-1980s.

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Yalda Kahim previously worked for the SBS show Dateline.

The award-winning reporter, who previously worked for SBS and speaks six languages, was clearly taken aback when the call from spokesman Suhail Shaheen flashed up on her phone.

"Uh, okay we've just got you on the phone, so we're just going to see if we can put you on speaker. Can our viewers hear that? Can you speak, Sir? Can you introduce yourself?" Hakim said.

"Is that fine can our viewers hear that?

"Okay, we have got the Taliban's spokesperson Shail Shaheen on the line. Mr Shaheen, can you hear me?"

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After establishing the microphone was doing its job, Hakim smoothly launched into a 30-minute interview with the Taliban spokesperson in which she probed him on the extremist group's plans for ruling the country.

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https://twitter.com/AasmahMir/status/1426956141456760839?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw

The interview came as Afghanistan's President Ashaf Ghani was fleeing the nation and the Taliban was preparing to take over the presidential palace in Kabul, which it has now done.

The Taliban spokesman claimed the terror group would deliver "peace" to the war-ravaged country and no homes would be taken from their owners.

"There should not be any confusion, we are sure the people of Afghanistan in the city of Kabul, that their properties and their lives are safe," he said.

"There will be no revenge on anyone. We are the servants of the people and of this country.

"Our leadership has instructed our forces to remain at the gate of Kabul, not to enter the city.

"We are awaiting a peaceful transfer of power."

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Yalda Hakim takes the call from Taliban spokesperson Suhail Shaheen.

However, when questioned, Shaheen, did not rule out the possibility of reintroducing stonings, amputations, and public hangings.

"I can't say right now, that's up to the judges in the courts and the laws," he said.

"The judges will be appointed according to the law of the future government."

Shaheen confirmed Afghanistan would return to Sharia law, adding: "Of course, we want Islamic government."

Hakim, who went to Macarthur Girls High School in Parramatta, Sydney before getting her journalism diploma from Macleay College, attracted widespread praise for the off-the-cuff interview.

"That BBC Taliban interview is just mind-blowing. All 32 minutes of it. Yalda Hakim is an absolute boss," broadcaster Aasmah Mir tweeted.

"It was a gamble that paid off. We all held our breath as @BBCYaldaHakim asked can our viewers hear this?" BBC journalist Clare Casey wrote.

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