Afghan journalists say they are living in fear and are frustrated by the slow and complicated process of finding safety in a new country.“I am very disappointed,” a journalist who worked with an international media outlet told VOA. “I do not know what will happen to me. I really fear for my life.”The journalist, who asked not to be identified for security reasons, says she and her family left Herat a day before it fell to the Taliban. Before that, fighters had been threatening her via phone and in person.The journalist moved to Kabul. But that too has fallen.Even in Kabul the journalist says she has received threats and that Taliban fighters visited the area where she and her family are staying. “I was scared to death when I was told that the Taliban are in the neighborhood.”“We stay in a room as prisoners. We cannot go out,” said the journalist, who has reported for an international broadcast outlet and news agency. “I just want (us to be) evacuated to a place where we feel safe.”Shifting powerThe Taliban entered Kabul on Sunday after President Ashraf Ghani fled the country and the government collapsed.At a news conference in Kabul on Tuesday, the Taliban said journalists are free to work as long as they are fair, promote national unity and do not report against Islamic law.Journalists light candles and pay tribute to Reuters photographer Danish Siddiqui in New Delhi, India, July 17, 2021. The Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer was killed as he chronicled fighting between Afghan forces and the Taliban.The co-chairs of the bipartisan U.S. Congressional Freedom of the Press Caucus have also called on President Joe Biden to evacuate media at “extreme risk because of their reporting.”Those who worked with American news outlets are eligible to apply for a Priority 2, or P-2 program, announced by the State Department this month. The program gives them and their families the chance of relocation in the U.S.A Kabul-based Afghan journalist, who did not want to be named for fear of retaliation, told VOA that the requirements of the program are tough.“One has to go to a third country and stay there for 12 to 14 months on his own expenses. Journalists in Afghanistan are living paycheck to paycheck, and they cannot afford living in a third country for months,” the journalist said.Believing he is in danger, the journalist said he is looking at all options to get out of Afghanistan. “I have not written something against them (Taliban), but I have been defending the republic, democracy, and that is enough for being targeted.”“We are at risk here,” the journalist adding, saying that the U.S. and other nations should speed up the evacuation process.CPJ’s Asia program coordinator Steven Butler acknowledged that the P-2 program is not “a practical option’’ for many, but said that the U.S. can use a “humanitarian parole” option.That option allows an individual to enter the U.S. temporarily for emergency or humanitarian reasons.“We hope that a number of journalists can take advantage of that,” Butler told VOA, adding that so far “very few” journalists have been evacuated.CPJ is receiving hundreds of pleas for help from journalists in Afghanistan. “We are working on identifying those who are most at risk and provide that information to the U.S. government so that they expediate their evacuation,” Butler said.News outlets and nongovernmental organizations are also trying to support Afghan journalists. The Open Society Foundation announced a $10 million emergency fund this week to help move to safety members of the media and those who worked for civil society. This report originated in VOA’s Afghan service.  

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