Re: Urgent Need for Ensuring Safe Passage for US Citizens and Afghan Allies Out of Afghanistan
Dear President Biden, Vice President Harris, Secretary Blinken, and Secretary Mayorkas:
On August 24th, we heard President Biden’s renewed commitment to removing all United States troops from Afghanistan by August 31, 2021. While the circumstances given the recent Taliban takeover are tenuous at best, immediate and swift action on the part of the United States’ is necessary to save tens of thousands of lives. The situation at Kabul airport is rapidly deteriorating with recent bombings at the gates and surrounding areas, the Taliban having reportedly blocked road access to the airport, while those who have made it to the airport are living in dire conditions without food, water, toilets and increased risk of exposure to COVID-19. Beyond Kabul, thousands of at-risk allies, women, ethnic minorities, and members of the LGBTQIA+ community have been left stranded without access to evacuation routes and are subject to a collapsed economy, a crippling third wave of COVID-19, and the very real threat of Taliban retaliation and execution.
As President Biden stated on August 24, 2021, “our obligations” are to safely evacuate all American citizens and Afghan allies. We, the undersigned organizations, insist that the United States honor that statement by:
- Extending the deadline until the safe evacuation and resettlement of all at-risk Afghan vulnerable populations is complete;
- Creating robust and welcoming plans to ensure absorption of Afghan refugees on American soil;
- Working with the international community to ensure safe resettlement for Afghan refugees, rather than creating another large community of international refugees. This includes not forcing those with US visas to languish in a country for long periods between escaping Afghanistan and immigrating to the United States; and
- Defending gender and human rights within Afghanistan during the transition and after.
Asian Pacific Islander American Health forum, Faith In Action, National Urban League, Race Forward and UnidosUS