Twenty-two lawmakers from both parties, led by Rep. Seth Moulton, are calling on the Biden administration to “immediately” evacuate indigenous peoples who helped U.S. forces during the war in Afghanistan.
In a letter to President Biden on Friday, June 4, the group of bipartisan lawmakers expressed concerns that if the United States does not act promptly, the Afghans who helped American forces will become targets of the Taliban’s revenge.
“We appreciate the complexity of ending the war in Afghanistan, but we are increasingly concerned that you have not yet directed the Department of Defense be mobilized as part of a concrete and workable whole of the government plan to protect our Afghan partners,” the lawmakers wrote in the letter.
“No U.S. entity, to include the Department of Defense, Department of State, USAID, et al., has the ability or authority to protect them in Afghanistan after our withdrawal,” the group of lawmakers wrote.
The congressmen also said in the letter that it would be a moral failure for the United States to transfer responsibility for protecting its Afghan partners to the government of Afghanistan.
“If we fail to protect our allies in Afghanistan, it will have a lasting impact on our future partnerships and global reputation, which will then be a great detriment to our troops and the future of our national security,” they added.
The letter was sent just days after the Biden administration discussed the Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) program. A spokesman for the U.S. Department of State, Ned Price, said that the goal is to process SIV applications quickly by adding staff in Washington and Kabul.
“Our embassy will remain, we will be able to continue processing,” Price said. “And we will do that as quickly and efficiently as we can, knowing, again, the special responsibility that we have to these brave Afghans.”