After going public with the problems she was having and seeking legal counsel, the journalist was contacted by the New Zealand authorities who told her that her rejected claim would be reconsidered.

A pregnant New Zealand journalist said on Sunday that she was taken in by the Taliban in Afghanistan because she was unable to return to her country to give birth due to draconian anti-Covid regulations.

“I felt betrayed” by New Zealand, Charlotte Bellis said in an interview with Radio New Zealand from Kabul.

In an open letter published by the New Zealand Herald , Charlotte Bellis explained that she worked for the Al-Jazeera channel in Afghanistan. On returning to Doha, where the headquarters of this media is located, she realized that she was expecting a child.

As it is forbidden in Qatar to be pregnant outside marriage, she kept her pregnancy a secret while preparing to return to New Zealand However, this country, which closed its borders in March 2020 due to the pandemic, does not let return its own nationals only in dribs and drabs.

When the journalist learned that she could not benefit from any derogation to return, she called senior Taliban officials. The latter then offered her to come and give birth in their country, where her spouse, a Belgian photographer, is based.

“We are happy for you, you can come and you will have no problem,” the Taliban assured her, she said in an interview. They added “don’t worry. Everything will be fine,” she told the New Zealand Herald.

“When I was in need, the New Zealand government told me I was not welcome,” the journalist lamented. “When the Taliban offer – to a single, pregnant woman – asylum, you know you are in a difficult situation.”

Charlotte Bellis, who had previously asked the Taliban what they would doto guarantee the rights of women and girls, said it was “ironic” that she is now asking the same question of her own government. 

After going public with the problems she was having and seeking legal counsel, the journalist was contacted by the New Zealand authorities who told her that her rejected claim would be reconsidered. 

Chris Hipkins, New Zealand’s Covid-19 Minister, said in a statement that he had asked officials to check whether all procedures had been followed correctly in Ms Bellis’ case, ” which seemed at first sight to deserve further explanation”.