As Taliban Takes Control of All of Afghanistan Thousands of U.S. Allies, Remain to Be Evacuated
WASHINGTON – As the Taliban seizes control of the Afghan capital of Kabul, it is clear that immediate action is needed to evacuate Afghan allies who served with U.S. forces and international civil society, as well as human rights defenders. With American diplomats and the remaining U.S. military presence positioned to leave the capital within days, Human Rights First demanded that Afghan allies and human rights defenders not be left behind.
“The Biden administration has taken too long to create a process that ensures safety for Afghans who served with American military and civil society actors,” said Jennifer Quigley senior director for government affairs at Human Rights First. “As Afghanistan’s military and political leaders abandon their posts, the United States risks abandoning allies who stood with us, who translated for and protected our troops. Unless there is a swift and meaningful effort to evacuate the thousands of allies and their families to the United States or a U.S. territory, we will have broken our promise to leave no one behind.”
The nearly 1,200 Afghans who have arrived at Fort Lee, Virginia, and have begun their resettlement process, represent around 1% of the total number of allies who need to be evacuated. If evacuation flights continue at their current pace, it would take until March 2023 to evacuate all the eligible Afghans out of the country.
“As advocates for human rights, we have seen this before. If President Biden hoped to avoid a reprise of the fall of Saigon, his administration’s approach to evacuation is failing miserably,” said Quigley. “As the window to change course narrows, we call on him to not leave those who stood with us standing at the gates to the airport, watching Americans leave without them, as they are left to face death at the hands of the Taliban.”