Journalist Charlotte Bellis pregnant in Kabul, hopes to return to NZ

Former New Zealand journalist Charlotte Bellis is pregnant with a baby girl as she continues to report from strife-torn Afghanistan.

It was an eventful end to 2021 and start to the New Year for Bellis, who resigned from her role as Qatar-based broadcaster Al Jazeera’s senior producer for Afghanistan last month.

Last week Bellis revealed she and partner Belgian freelance photojournalist Jim Huylebroek were expecting a baby in May.

“We will remain in Kabul and hope to return to New Zealand to give birth in my home country,” Bellis told her 50,000 followers on Instagram via a post including an ultrasound image.

A post shared by Charlotte Bellis (@charlottebellis)

“We can’t wait to welcome our little girl to the wonderful world we call home and our friends, family and communities across New Zealand, Belgium and Afghanistan.”

A junior tennis star who studied journalism in the United States before launching her television career with TVNZ in Christchurch in 2009, Bellis had been reporting in Afghanistan for Al Jazeera since 2017.

She was on the ground in the capital when the Taliban seized control of Kabul last August and documented the exodus of Afghans, ex-pats plus United States and other foreign military personnel.

Bellis posted about her resignation before Christmas, saying: “I’m going to take some time to focus on special projects and am excited for the next chapter.”

She paid tribute to the network, its management and her colleagues.

“In my five years at the network, I have felt an immense sense of pride. I have absorbed so much from my colleagues, the places we covered that I’d never heard of, and watched the lengths we went to, to get a story and stay there.

“I’ve felt cared for on the hard days and savoured the newsroom camaraderie on all the other days.”

Bellis is now working as an independent journalist in Kabul, having recently returned there with Huylebroek.

Near the end of her stint at Al Jazeera she held a Zoom call with year 13 students at her former high school, St Margaret’s College, which inspired the students to raise funds for the UN World Food Programme for Afghanistan in October.

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