The New York Times announced Wednesday night that all of its employees in Afghanistan and their families have been safely evacuated from Taliban-controlled Afghanistan.
The Times was one of three major papers — alongside the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal — that on Monday jointly called for president Joe Biden’s help in evacuating their employees from the country as the Taliban cemented their control.
The Washington Post announced Tuesday afternoon that its employees made it out of Afghanistan safely. It’s not known if this or the evacuation of the Times’ personnel involved help from the Biden administration.
The small bit of good news comes during a chaotic and absolutely uncertain time in Afghanistan, which was abandoned by its government just as U.S. forces began their withdrawal, leaving the Taliban virtually unopposed. So far the Taliban says it will let anyone who wants to leave do so, and has made vague promises about respecting the rights of women within the group’s religious parameters.
If those assurances are honored it will be in stark contrast to the Taliban’s last stint governing Afghanistan, defined by ruthless oppression of women, rapes and forced marriages, mass executions and harboring of terrorists. It was in fact the last of those that led to the downfall of that Taliban government — The refusal to hand over Osama bin Laden after the 9/11 attacks was a key contributing factor to the decision by the Bush administration to invade in Oct. 2001. Bin Laden formally claimed full responsibility for the attacks in 2004.
Read the paper’s full statement below:
We are relieved and overjoyed to be able to tell you tonight that our brave colleagues in Afghanistan made it to safety.
It took a whole lot of people to make this happen. We had unwavering commitment from the highest levels of this organization. But we really want to express our deepest appreciation and respect for those who were on the ground, and who kept their heads during some very scary moments. They never gave up hope.
There is more work to do. We must help all of these families make the transition to new lives abroad. We must continue to work to help others who need to find their way to safety. And we must also remain strong in our commitment to find ways to cover an Afghanistan that is under Taliban rule.
But for now, even if just for a beat or two, we can all breathe a bit easier, knowing that 65 families — 128 men, women and children — are headed to freedom.