How News Organizations Got Afghan Colleagues Out of Kabul


As the situation in Afghanistan has deteriorated in recent days, publishers The Times, The Journal and The Post have banded together in their evacuation effort. Security personnel and editors shared information about the morning calls. publishers wanted He appealed to the Biden administration to ease the transition of his Afghan colleagues, and discussions ensued with White House, Pentagon, and State Department officials.

On Sunday, the offices were closed and the streets of Kabul were chaotic. As American troops, contractors and security teams left the country, newsroom officials were less able to see the situation on the ground. Some Afghan employees feared that Taliban forces would go door-to-door scaring or even kidnapping journalists known to work with American publications.

The US military had secured part of Hamid Karzai International Airport, just a few kilometers from the center of Kabul, but getting there and then gaining access to the terminal became nearly impossible. On Sunday, the group of more than 200 people, including employees of the three newspapers and their relatives, went onto the asphalt of the airport in hopes of making contact with the US military, according to three people briefed on the events, some of whom made requests. anonymity to identify sensitive discussions.

Instead, they found a scene of mass confusion as hundreds of panicked Afghans sought shelter. The situation became more dangerous when the Taliban forces arrived; People said members of the group left thirsty, hungry, and depressed and had no clear idea of ​​what would happen next.

Returning to New York and Washington, newspaper leaders made diplomatic contacts in countries with embassies in Afghanistan, searching for clues that could result in safe haven and transportation for their workers. “There were a lot of plans and efforts that failed or failed,” said Michael Slackman, assistant international editor of The Times. “At night you would have a plan, and two hours later the conditions on the field would change.”


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