Afghan broadcasters for US government radio fear Taliban backlash

Taliban fighters stand on a vehicle along the roadside in Kandahar, Afghanistan
Getty Images

Afghan journalists working for American radio stations fear that they will be among the Taliban’s next targets as the insurgent group makes its way further into Kabul.

The journalists are eligible to leave the country through a U.S. visa, but it’s unclear if they will be able to make a safe exit, The New York Times reported.

The acting CEO of the U.S. Agency for Global Media, which oversees U.S. civilian international media, Kelu Chao told staff on Sunday in email that they was doing everything they could to keep their journalists safe and “will not back down in our mission to inform, engage, and connect Afghans in support of freedom and democracy,” according to The Times.

However, the Kabul bureau news manager of Radio Azadi, which is part of the Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty services, worried about the fate of journalists in the country. He told The Times in a phone interview on Sunday that he was not even sure if they would be broadcasting the next day.

“Journalists are being left behind,” Rateb Noori told the news outlet.

The journalists have been targets of the Taliban, including one Radio Free Afghanistan reporter who died during a bombing last November.

Sunday was a day of dire developments in Afghanistan as the Taliban gained access to the presidential palace in the capital, The Associated Press reported.

President Ashraf Ghani left the country earlier on Sunday. In a Facebook post, Ghani said he left to avoid bloodshed though it’s unclear where he is now.

Meanwhile, another 1,000 troops, in addition to the 1,000 that President Biden announced on Saturday, have reportedly been authorized by the Pentagon, bringing the total number of troops in Afghanistan to 6,000.

In the Taliban’s wake, the U.S. has tried to hastily evacuate its embassy staff and has already lowered its flag. 

Tags Afghanistan Ashraf Ghani Joe Biden Pentagon Taliban

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