Three major news outlets in the US sent a letter to the Biden administration Monday imploring officials to include their Afghan journalists among those being granted the highest priority to escape Afghanistan as the Taliban take control of the country.
Frederick Ryan Jr., publisher of The Washington Post, Almar Latour, publisher of The Wall Street Journal, and A.G. Sulzberger, publisher of The New York Times, signed a letter to the president, saying: "For the past twenty years, brave Afghan colleagues have worked tirelessly to help (the news outlets) share news and information from the region with the global public. Now those colleagues and their families are trapped in Kabul, their lives in peril."
The three news outlets are asking the Biden administration to facilitate a protected pathway for journalists to reach Hamid Karzai International Airport, access to get inside, and safe evacuation out of the country.
The letter asked the administration to move "urgently" in order to send "an unequivocal signal that the government will stand behind the free press."
The Taliban have rapidly taken Afghanistan in a lightning offensive that blindsided Western powers as government forces melted away. The capital Kabul fell to the group on Sunday after the Afghan government collapsed amid the Taliban's dizzying advances that prompted former President Ashraf Ghani to leave the country.
Following his departure, former President Hamid Karzai, veteran politician Gulbuddin Hekmatyar and top peace negotiator Abdullah Abdullah have been working to ensure a smooth transfer of power.