CWS Urges Biden Administration to Prioritize Evacuations, Abandon Arbitrary Deadline

August 24, 2021

Washington, D.C.—Church World Service today calls on the Biden administration to ensure the urgent evacuation of Afghans in danger—including women and girls, religious and minority groups, people with disabilities, and others—for as long as it takes to get people to safety. The call comes as reports indicate that President Biden will stick to his arbitrary August 31 deadline to complete withdrawal from the country, despite the Taliban establishing a blockade around Kabul airport, preventing Afghans and U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents from accessing life-saving services. 

Church World Service notes that, unless extended, the deadline for withdrawal will leave tens of thousands in at the mercy of the Taliban. The organization further adds that it is equally imperative that the United States create safe pathways out of Afghanistan and welcome evacuees to U.S. territory—like Guam, which has been poised to welcome Afghans. 

“President Biden is holding to a deadline that is arbitrary and harmful. Today’s news is devastating to the Afghans and U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents alike who are in life-threatening situations within Afghanistan and for their loved ones awaiting them in the United States. We have a moral obligation to create a safe pathway out of Afghanistan for all those in danger to U.S. territory—for as long as it takes to get the job done,” said Erol Kekic, Senior Vice President for the Immigration and Refugee Program at Church World Service. “With the Taliban now blocking access to the Kabul airport, attacks on women and children escalating, and the targeting of men and women who worked alongside the United States persisting, President Biden must recognize that his adherence to a hard deadline will cost countless lives.” 

On Thursday, Church World Service announced that it has sent staff to Fort Lee, Virginia to aid in the arrival and processing of Afghan refugees. Beyond aiding in their arrival at Fort Lee, CWS resettlement offices and affiliates will continue to welcome these Afghan families in the United States, providing housing, employment and other social services so that they can thrive in their new communities.

For more information on CWS efforts to welcome Afghans visit our Protecting Afghan Refugees at Risk page. To speak with CWS staff aiding in the evacuation, contact