Australian reporter left Afghanistan after Taliban forced her to withdraw reports on forced marriages

Lynne O’Donnell, an Australian journalist for Foreign Policy Magazine, said this week that the Taliban threatened to put her in jail if she did not withdraw stories criticizing the organization.

She spent several years in Afghanistan as a resident correspondent before the U.S. retreated her from the country last year. She then returned within the last week to report on the Taliban practices of forced marriages with teenage girls.

After writing some tweets and articles about the topic, Taliban officials started to pressure O’Donnell, influencing what she wrote. She stated that the tweets written on Tuesday were made by the Taliban: ‘l apologize for 3 or 4 reports written by me accusing the present authorities of forcefully marrying teenage girls and using teenage girls as sexual slaves by Taliban commanders. This was a premeditated attempt at character assassination and an affront to Afghan culture.’

The concerned journalist left Afghanistan after these happenings, claiming it was inevitable: ‘If I did not, they said, they’d send me to jail. At one point, they surrounded me and demanded I accompany them to prison. Throughout, a man with a gun was never far away.’