Three of the largest newspapers in the U.S. called on Monday for President Joe Biden to help journalists safely escape Afghanistan following the Taliban’s takeover of the capital.
Signed by heads of The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal, the group statement asked for “facilitated and protected access to the US-controlled airport,” for “safe passage through a protected access gate to the airport” and for “facilitated air movement out of the country.”
“For the past twenty years, brave Afghan colleagues have worked tirelessly to help The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal 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 statement said.
The plea for help comes as the U.S. works to maintain control of Hamid Karzai International Airport. The U.S. resumed operations at the key airport in Kabul, hours after suspending flights as crowds of people rushed the airfield in an attempt to flee the country, U.S. officials said Monday.
In a Pentagon briefing Monday afternoon, Garry Reid, the Defense Department’s lead for Afghan nationals’ relocation effort, said the military hoped to accelerate the pace of evacuations in coming days, as long as it’s able to “stabilize” conditions in the nation’s capital.
“As employers, we are looking for support for our colleagues and as journalists we’re looking for an unequivocal signal that the government will stand behind the free press,” the newspapers’ statement said.