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Washington Post publisher asks Biden administration to help evacuate journalists

The paper's publisher emailed national security adviser Jake Sullivan on behalf of The Post, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal.

Washington Post publisher Fred Ryan pleaded with the Biden administration Monday to help evacuate journalists and their families from Afghanistan as the Taliban took control of the capital, Kabul.

Ryan emailed national security adviser Jake Sullivan with the subject line "Urgent re safety of US Journalists."

"Jake, Urgent request on behalf of the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Washington Post is to have our 204 journalists, support staff and families transported by US Military from the civilian side of the Kabul airport to the military side of the airport where they can be safe as they await evacuation flights," Ryan said in the email seen by NBC News.

Journalists at the three papers are "currently in danger" and "need the US government to get them to safety," he said. "Please advise as to how best to proceed."

Afghans surrounded passenger jets and tried to force themselves onto a plane at Kabul's airport overnight as panic spread in the city.

One video showed a U.S. military aircraft trying to take flight as dozens of Afghans sprinted alongside it, apparently in an attempt to stop it taking off without them. Some even climbed aboard, clinging to the outside as the aircraft gained speed.

On the other side of the airport, a runway secured by the U.S. military has been used to evacuate embassy personnel. Ryan's email suggests that he hopes the journalists can be taken to the side run by the military.

President Joe Biden was returning to the White House on Monday afternoon to give a speech about Afghanistan after the Taliban took charge over the weekend, prompting growing criticism from his allies in Washington.

Sullivan said Monday on NBC's "TODAY" show that "it's certainly the case that the speed with which cities fell was much greater than anyone anticipated, including the Afghans."