By Oliver Darcy
Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Mitt Romney on Wednesday encouraged the Biden administration to take measures to protect and evacuate journalists in Afghanistan.
In a letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas, and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, Klobuchar and Romney said the US should "honor" its commitment to a free press by taking measures to "ensure the safety of journalists, supporting staff, and their families in Afghanistan."
"The Taliban have long targeted journalists, which continues today," the two senators wrote. "Despite this risk, journalists have been on the front lines reporting on the conflict in Afghanistan for 20 years, keeping citizens informed and government leaders accountable. Those who contributed to a free and open press in Afghanistan will likely face retribution by the Taliban, and must be brought to safety."
"There are an estimated 200-plus journalists and support staff in addition to their families in Afghanistan seeking to evacuate the country. Please ensure that as evacuation flights continue, journalists and support staff are not forgotten," the pair added.
Some context: Several news organizations and press advocacy groups have said this week that they are working with the US to evacuate personnel from Afghanistan.
A Biden administration official told CNN on Monday that dozens of State Department officials, including some of the most senior officials, have been in constant contact with US media organizations regarding efforts to bring their employees and affiliates to safety. It will continue to be a priority, the official added at the time.