An award-winning Afghan photographer has predicted the Taliban will shut down Afghanistan's media and says they are fooling the West by promising to allow journalists to operate freely.

Massoud Hossaini, who won a Pulitzer Prize in 2012, fled Kabul on the last commercial flight the day the Islamists seized control two weeks ago, and is now in the Netherlands.

He had faced threats from the group, who he has said are already restricting female journalists in particular.

The 39-year-old told his former employers, the AFP news agency: "It is going to be really, really bad. They are trying to kill the media but they are doing it slowly.

"When Taliban capture someone, first of all they capture someone and then kill them, and this is now happening to media in general."

After the fall of Kabul, Taliban officials stressed that the media, including women, could continue to operate freely and would not be harassed.

The Taliban even held a formal press conference where the group's spokesman took questions.

But Hossaini - whose 2012 picture of a green-clad Afghan girl crying in horror after a suicide attack also won second prize in the spot news category of the World Press Photo awards - said the Taliban's promises were a sham.

Speaking at a World Press Photo exhibition in Amsterdam, he said: "The Taliban will completely close down the media, and they will also cut internet completely and probably become another North Korea for this region.

"Right now they are fooling the international community, they are fooling westerners," he said, branding the press conference a "gimmick".

News conference by Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid has been criticised as a 'gimmick'

Long a target for militants, Hossaini made his escape from Afghanistan after learning that the Taliban "really hated" a recent story that he and a foreign journalist had covered about the group carrying out forced marriages of women and girls to Taliban gunmen.

After receiving threats on social media, the pair booked tickets out of Kabul, with Hossaini travelling on the morning of 15 August as it became clear the Taliban were closing in.

He said: "When the plane took off as the last commercial plane before Kabul falling, we cried.

"I saw that many friends, even foreigners were crying, because they felt like me that we cannot go back to Kabul again."

Kabul itself has descended into nightmarish scenes, with the suicide attack outside Kabul airport on Thursday producing "even worse" images than those that won Hossaini the Pulitzer.

He said: "The images from the attack were really really horrible.

"I never imagined that many people being killed in a small canal, and that canal being pooled by the blood of people."

Now in exile, Hossaini said he had heard a litany of complaints from other journalists still in Afghanistan about the situation for the media under the country's new hardline rulers.

Where the "most famous" Afghan TV anchors were until recently women, one well-known female journalist told him "the Taliban do not even let me get out of my office" and she was now trying to leave, he said.

"For sure no woman can walk in the street, we see that female journalists go with the microphone, no it's not possible."

But perhaps the greatest damage is the dispersal of much of the vibrant Afghan media world created in the 20 years since the Taliban were ousted in the wake of the 11 September 2001 attacks.

"It means they already killed us," said Hossaini, who himself spent most of the first twenty years of his life as a refugee in Iran and only returned to Afghanistan after 9/11.

"I really want to go back to Afghanistan, my home is there, my memories are there.

"I fell in love with Afghanistan by photography, and fell in love with photography because of Afghanistan, and I did my best."