Jul 21, 2021 - Politics & Policy

News orgs lobby Biden admin for visas for Afghans who supported U.S. press

Village elders speak with a U.S. Marine (L), through an interpreters in 2008.

Village elders speak with a U.S. Marine (L), through an interpreter in the Korengal Valley in 2008. Photo: John Moore/Getty Images

A coalition of more than 20 U.S. media companies delivered letters to Congress and the Biden administration, seeking assistance with the relocation of Afghan journalists and staff who worked for American outlets.

Why it matters: Afghans who worked with the U.S. press “fear retaliation from the Taliban" as the U.S. military nears the complete withdrawal of troops in Afganistan, per the letters.

The Biden administration has already made plans to evacuate thousands of Afghans who worked with the U.S. military before the full withdrawal with the expansion of the Special Immigration Visa (SIV) program.

  • The SIV program, however, does not include individuals who worked for U.S. media organizations, and the coalition asked Congress to create a special visa program for those Afghans.
  • The letters were signed by major news organizations, including the New York Times, Washington Post, CNN, Politico, NBC and ABC News.

What they're saying: "[T]hey and their families face the same threat of retaliation from the Taliban, which views the American press as a legitimate target. The Taliban has long conducted a campaign of threatening and killing journalists," the letter reads.

  • "Without the assistance of the U.S. Government, many of these Afghans face grievous harm and death for having done nothing more than lent their labor and skills to making certain the world knew what was going on in their country while U.S. troops were there for the past twenty years."
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