Profession: reporter. See and leave Kabul

On the streets of Kabul. (VINCENT SOURIAU / RFI)

Vincent Souriau of Radio France Internationale is one of the few Western journalists to join the Taliban in Kabul.

The suicide attack claimed by the organization state meslamic on Aug. 26 at the Kabul airport gates killed at least 180 people, including 13 American soldiers, and injured another 200 people. A still provisional assessment. Vincent Souriau and the Afghan journalists who accompanied him might have expanded the list of victims if their guide hadn’t taken the wrong turn. Lives saved by a trajectory error, because in fact, they were very close: the detonation, listen, the panic lives on. Hundreds, thousands of people are running, bloody wounds are being pushed in wheelbarrows, ambulances have not yet arrived.

A mission in a theater of war is always delicate. When, a few days earlier, Vincent Souriau, lead reporter for Radio France Internationale, landed in Kabul with his colleagues from France 24 and a BBC team, the reception of the Western soldiers controlling the runway was cold: “Who are you ? What are you doing here? “

Reporters arrived from Doha with a military plane from Qatar making rounds. And this surprise arrival does not please the GI and the British soldiers. In addition, the BBC remains blocked at the airport, the information goes up to Downing Street. The French pass. They will be the last. Other teams arrive via the same channel three days later, are blocked and leave for Qatar.

Tension and fear have set in from one checkpoint to another, and the so-called “safe” Hotel Serena, where all the journalists stay, quickly becomes a target for terrorists.

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In this chaos, the reporter goes from rumor to rumor, largely unverifiable. It is therefore necessary to deliver reliable information, to pay attention to the situations that unfold before your eyes: the inextricable scenes of the airport, people dying to take a plane, descriptions of life in Kabul, food and economic disasters, those who are not afraid to speak into the microphone express their fear of their future in Kabul, and then there is also this report with a Taliban patrol in the streets of the capital. Heavily armed Taliban youth who have recovered an Afghan police car and are proud to play with the vehicle’s sirens as children. Surrealist scenes that talk a lot about this daily transition that escapes all rationality.

And for those who wonder why risk their lives for an airport report or an interview with Taliban youth? The answer will always be the same. In a theater of war, or in a country beset by a crisis of this nature, the reporter brings the reality of the terrain to everyone’s knowledge, in its slightest nuances. And in doing so, do not leave the field of information to propagandists and communicators, whoever they are.

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