There’s been a lot of chatter this week about why CNN’s Clarissa Ward continued to report from the ground in Afghanistan when she is clearly in danger. As journalists, we know the importance of her reporting. It’s vital to tell the story from the inside and to broadcast images of a country in turmoil. Most Afghan journalists are fearful to show their faces right now, much less report, so Ward is one of the only journalists standing in front of cameras out in the open. She told The Hill, “It certainly felt like we had a front-row seat to history and it’s an extraordinary moment to witness.”
This reporter Clarissa Ward is so impressive to me. I’ve lived in Islamic countries for 15 yrs. Traveled in about 10 others. Holy hell she is amazing. I know the feeling of being in a crowd like this as a white woman. pic.twitter.com/DZiAW8zN7Z
— ⭐️Jen Psaki is a slayer⭐️ (@TRObrian) August 18, 2021
Ward appears calm and collected as she reports in the middle of chaos, even when she and her crew have been threatened.
— Oliver Darcy (@oliverdarcy) August 18, 2021
While the Yale graduate seems unphased when she is delivering her reports, she says there are nervous moments:
“People have been saying, ‘Oh this woman is fearless,’ and I’m really not. I’m very fearful and I don’t like being in situations where bullets are flying… I flinch every time I hear a gunshot. I hate gunfire just like anybody does… But I understand … I have a better gauge of when I feel like I can ask a tough question or when I think someone is really volatile and potentially dangerous.”
.@clarissaward is one tough, courageous, fearless, badass woman.
— Joe Walsh (@WalshFreedom) August 19, 2021
Ward’s reporting hasn’t been without controversy. Ted Cruz, Sean Hannity, and others on the right have insulted her, saying she’s cheerleading for the Taliban. Let’s put them in her situation and see how they perform!
A lot of conservatives mocked Clarissa Ward a few days ago but she’s one of the bravest journalists on the ground in Afghanistan right now.
— Ryan James Girdusky (@RyanGirdusky) August 19, 2021
Ward told Esquire she isn’t phased by the criticism, “With all the stuff on Twitter, whether it’s good or bad, it’s all a distraction. So for me right now, anything that’s distracting from what’s going on here and the misery and the desperation, I just don’t have much time for it.”
You don't have to like CNN to admit that Clarissa Ward's reporting from the ground in Afghanistan is both stunningly brave and necessary.
— Kimberly Ross (@SouthernKeeks) August 18, 2021
This woman is amazing @clarissaward
Her commitment to tell the story of a falling Afghanistan is remarkable. And beyond brave.
Stay safe out there. https://t.co/5WvcIOWwPT
— DC (@cadebrigade) August 19, 2021
A lot of American news outlets pulled their reporters out of Afghanistan earlier in the week. CNN’s Oliver Darcy writes, “Spokespeople for The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, CBS News, and NBC News all told me on Thursday evening that their reporters have exited the country as the security situation intensifies with the Taliban takeover of Kabul.”
Ward stayed longer than most, but finally left late Friday (which was early Saturday morning in Afghanistan).
On our flight and getting ready for takeoff pic.twitter.com/bGaYREsbxT
— Clarissa Ward (@clarissaward) August 20, 2021
Ward admits her time in the country, which has included 19-hour workdays over the last three weeks, has taken a toll, “I’m just really, really, really beat.”
Now she’s looking forward to seeing her family soon:
“I’m missing my 1-year-old and 3-year-old. So, it’s probably time for me to get out and take a little bit of a break in the not-so-distant future.”