'The Taliban have been really gracious' pregnant woman blocked from returning to New Zealand tells Dan Wootton
Charlotte Bellis has been unable to return home and is staying in Kabul with her partner
In an interview with GB News, the pregnant reporter who has chosen Afghanistan as a temporary base, Charlotte Bellis, says the Taliban have been “really gracious” in helping her.
Speaking to Dan Wootton, Ms Bellis, who is 25 weeks pregnant, said she was concerned about her situation but had been surprised at the hospitality of the group after the New Zealand borders were shut due to the pandemic, with PM Jacinda Ardern introducing a lottery system for residents to use to return.
“I approached the Taliban and said ‘do you think we’re going to have an issue? We’re not married, and I’m going to be pregnant’
“They were really gracious actually, and said ‘we appreciate this is a really difficult position that you can’t get home. We feel sorry for you. You’re a foreigner. This is your culture, not ours, but good luck and we wish you the best. You’re safe here'."
Charlotte is expecting her first child with her partner Jim Huylebroek, a Belgian freelance photographer who has lived in Afghanistan for two years, said she has sent dozens of documents to her government in her battle to return home.
“We tried to keep this very quiet for quite a long time.
“It wasn’t until the government rejected us and we thought actually we’re going to have to set this up and we talked to our lawyer about filing a judicial review of New Zealand.”
Ms Bellis also criticised the decision to allow multiple international teams into the country for the Women’s Cricket World Cup.
“Teams have been flown in from seven different countries and given a back door into MIQ (Managed isolation and quarantine), and I’m here fighting, having to talk about this in global media to get some pressure to say ‘can we please show some empathy and logic here’.”
On Tuesday morning Charlotte confirmed that she will return home after her government finally offered her a pathway back.
The government offer amounted to a backdown by New Zealand after officials had earlier insisted that Charlotte Bellis needed to reapply for a spot in the country’s bottlenecked quarantine hotels.
Deputy prime minister Grant Robertson said Ms Bellis had been offered a voucher for a room.
“I will be returning to my home country New Zealand at the beginning of March to give birth to our baby girl,” Ms Bellis said in a statement. “We are so excited to return home and be surrounded by family and friends at such a special time.”