Washington, DC — Today President Biden delivered remarks on the U.S. drawdown efforts in Afghanistan. Church World Service was hopeful that the President’s statement would include a plan on how the administration would protect Afghans who served alongside the U.S. mission and refugees fleeing violence and persecution. However, President Biden neither provided a concrete evacuation plan for Afghan partners nor was clear to the American people or the world on how the U.S. would address the looming humanitarian crises in Afghanistan.
“The United States has a moral duty to protect those who have protected us. Afghan allies who supported the U.S. mission and their loved ones should be urgently evacuated to safety,” said Meredith Owen, Director of Policy and Advocacy for Church World Service. “The way we leave Afghanistan will be an enduring mark on this nation’s legacy and our role as a global leader in humanitarian protection. Afghan allies, who have faced danger in life-threatening situations as a result of working with the United States and who have already been waiting years, deserve a safe place to call home. As the United States withdraws from Afghanistan, we cannot abandon them, especially as that service to us puts them in danger. Nor can we abandon the countless other Afghan refugees whose lives are increasingly in danger as the U.S. withdrawal comes to a close. We must bring them to safety in the United States.”
The faith community, leaders from Guam, veterans, and bipartisan Members of Congress have previously called for an evacuation of all 18,000 Afghans in the Special Immigrant Visa backlog and their families to American territory like Guam, where the visas can be safely processed. Every day that we do not evacuate Afghan allies while U.S. forces withdraw puts lives at stake. The United States has done this before and must do it now. If President Biden truly meant “speed is safety,” it would apply to Afghan allies’ lives, not just American ones.