CBS News has secured the evacuation of Afghan individuals who provided support of its news coverage on the ground in Afghanistan.
The group of workers and their family members — dozens in total — had arrived safely in Doha, the capital of Qatar, by Tuesday morning for processing. They aim to eventually gain refugee status in the United States.
"We have been working to ensure the safe departure of our Afghan colleagues from the country as events escalated. These are extraordinary circumstances involving many levels of coordination across our London and Washington, D.C. teams," said Neeraj Khemlani, president and co-head of CBS News and the CBS Television Stations.
Khemlani thanked everyone involved in the effort as well as those around the world "who work to safely report and protect our teams as they bring vital information to the public."
Workers who supported CBS News in Afghanistan provided critical assistance to further reporting from the region during the U.S.-led, including as journalists, interpreters and drivers.
Senior members of the CBS News editorial and legal teams worked with ViacomCBS before the Taliban retook power to advocate on behalf of Afghans who helped the news media.
In July, CBS News and other media organizations asked the Biden administration to support the creation of a visa program for Afghans who worked with American press and were seeking safety in the U.S.
"We are doing what we can as private organizations to assist our former and current Afghan colleagues but our capacity to provide relief is limited," CBS News and other organizations wrote in a letter to President Biden and the U.S. Secretary of State. "Without the assistance of the U.S. Government, many of these Afghans face grievous harm and death for having done nothing more than lent their labor and skills to making certain the world knew what was going on in their country while U.S. troops were there for the past twenty years."
In another letter, in August, news organizations urged the Biden administration to work with Congress to expand a visa program to help Afghans who worked with American media companies. CBS News and others also asked the administration to immediately act to allow media companies to refer Afghan workers, including freelancers and contractors, to the United States Refugee Admissions Program.