WASHINGTON D.C. - Truman National Security Project members, along with hundreds of national security and foreign policy leaders, former elected officials, humanitarian workers, and human rights experts have published a sign-on letter urging President Biden and Members of Congress to save our Afghan allies.
With the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan scheduled to be completed by August 31 2021, thousands of Afghans who risked their lives to build a better country and to protect our forces face imminent and profound risk. They are journalists, activists, academics, and colleagues to U.S. and foreign government officials.
The letter’s signatories are calling on the Biden administration and Members of Congress to immediately:
- Evacuate the most vulnerable Afghans regardless of their immigration status and ensure that both U.S. and other allied military, charter and commercial flights are permitted to fly, and that such flights leave at full capacity. No flight out of Kabul should have empty seats.
- Direct U.S. forces to extend this mission until all of the most vulnerable Afghans are safely out of the country, past August 31 if needed.
- Lead a diplomatic effort with allies and actors on the ground to ensure that roads to the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul and other points of exit around the country remain safe and free of restrictions, and that the airport itself remains secure and operational for the duration of these efforts.
- Make airport protocols clear, coordinated, and as streamlined as possible so that evacuees can efficiently board flights after they have arrived at the airport. Ensure that the list of accepted forms of documentation and identification needed to enter the airport, pass through security, and board flights are as expansive as possible. The U.S. should further coordinate airport protocols and evacuee lists with other nations staging evacuations.
- Expand, supplement, and streamline the admission of at risk Afghan refugees, including by expanding P-2 eligibility, creating a category of humanitarian parole to admit vulnerable Afghans, and evacuating Afghans who qualify for P-2 but lack the means to travel to a third country, working with those third countries to speed refugee processing.
- Lead a diplomatic effort and surge funding to partner governments willing to keep borders open and welcome at-risk Afghans.
The U.S. still has time to save tens of thousands of Afghans whose lives are at risk because of the support and protection they gave to us. But it must act now. Failure to do so will leave a permanent stain on our global credibility and our collective conscience.
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