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Emotional Afghan reporter asks Pentagon: 'Where is my president? Where is President Ghani?'

The reporter said she had left Afghanistan under Taliban rule 20 years ago.

Updated: August 16, 2021 - 6:05pm

An Afghan reporter became emotional during a Pentagon press briefing on Monday when she asked Department of Defense Press Secretary John Kirby about the whereabouts of Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, and expressed concern for women under Taliban rule.

"I am very upset today because Afghan women didn't expect that overnight, all the Taliban--" the reporter started to say before choking up.

"They took off my flag, this is my flag, and they put their flag. Everybody is upset, especially women," she said.

"Where is my president, former president Ghani? People expected that he'd be by the people, and admittedly, we don't know where is he, and we don't have a president," the reporter said. "President Biden said that President Ghani know he has to fight for us people. They have to do everything and we were able to financially help them. But we don't have any president, we don't have anything. Afghan people, they don't know what to do."

She added that she and other women have achieved a lot in Afghanistan and that she had left from living under the Taliban 20 years ago.

Kirby responded saying that he couldn't speak for Ghani or his whereabouts. But speaking for himself, Kirby said he respectfully understood "the anxiety and fear and the pain that you're feeling -- it's clear, and it's evident. And nobody at the Pentagon is happy about the images that we've seen coming out in the last few days, and we're all mindful of the kind of governance the Taliban is capable of."

He said that what has happened in Afghanistan is personal for everyone at the Pentagon, as they have "invested greatly in Afghanistan and in the progress that women and girls have made politically, economically, socially, and we certainly do understand and we do feel the pain that you're feeling -- probably not to the same extent.

"We're focused right now on making sure that we do the best we can for those Afghans who helped us," Kirby said, and with the airport open again, the U.S. is committed to making that possible.

He concluded his response with, "Again, I'm sorry for your pain, I truly, truly am."

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