Afghan army soldiers patrol after the American military left Bagram air base, in Parwan province north of Kabul, Afghanistan, Monday, July 5, 2021. (AP Photo/Rahmat Gul)

CPJ welcomes priority inclusion of Afghan journalists in U.S. refugee program

Washington, D.C., August 2, 2021 — In response to the U.S. State Department’s announcement today of a priority designation granting U.S. Refugee Admissions Program access to “Afghans who are or were employed in Afghanistan by a U.S.-based media organization or non-governmental organization,” the Committee to Protect Journalists issued the following statement:

“We applaud the Biden administration for recognizing its moral responsibility and taking swift action to ensure that journalists affiliated with U.S. media outlets in Afghanistan are not left behind,” said Michael De Dora, CPJ’s Washington advocacy manager. “Given the potential for violence against journalists following the U.S. military withdrawal, it is imperative that the process for this priority designation be expedited. We urge the State Department to announce specific application details as soon as possible.”

The U.S. pullout from Afghanistan has left journalists, media workers, and their families at increased risk, especially in light of a U.S. intelligence report suggesting the government of Afghanistan could collapse within six months of full U.S. withdrawal, according to reports. On July 20, CPJ joined with U.S. news and press freedom organizations in sending joint letters urging President Joseph Biden, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, and Congressional leadership to provide visas to Afghan journalists affiliated with U.S. media outlets.