Bipartisan Majority of Senators Call on Biden to ‘Immediately Evacuate’ Afghans who Helped U.S.

Bipartisan Majority of Senators Call on Biden to ‘Immediately Evacuate’ Afghans who Helped U.S.

A bipartisan majority of senators sent a letter to President Joe Biden calling on him to “immediately evacuate” Afghan allies who helped the United States while the military was in the country.

Led by Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA) and Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), the group asked Biden to pull out the Afghan allies using the “recently-passed legislation amending the process and eligibility for the Afghan Special Immigrant Visa (SIV).”

The group noted that those who helped the U.S. put their lives at risk and face “increased danger at the hands of the Taliban that has sworn retribution.”

Following the September 11 terrorist attack, the group added that the mission was to safeguard the “American homeland from terrorist attacks, eliminated Osama bin Laden, and delivered freedom and education to a generation of Afghan women and children.”

Afghan people wait to board a U S military aircraft to leave Afghanistan, at the military airport in Kabul on August 19, 2021 after Taliban's military takeover of Afghanistan. (Photo by Shakib RAHMANI / AFP) (Photo by SHAKIB RAHMANI/AFP via Getty Images)

Afghan people wait to board a U S military aircraft to leave Afghanistan, at the military airport in Kabul on August 19, 2021 after Taliban’s military takeover of Afghanistan. (Photo by Shakib RAHMANI / AFP) (Photo by SHAKIB RAHMANI/AFP via Getty Images)

This was from the help of the Afghans, who fought alongside the military. By doing so, the Afghans’ lives are at stake with the departure of the U.S. forces.

The group continued:

The Taliban’s rapid ascendancy across Afghanistan and takeover of Kabul should not cause us to break our promise to the Afghans who helped us operate over the past twenty years and are counting on us for assistance. American inaction would ensure they become refugees or prime targets for Taliban retribution.

Specifically, we urge continued coordination between the Departments of State and Defense to secure and hold Hamid Karzai International Airport, including to allow for the continuation of military flights and the resumption of commercial and charter flights. We also urge your Administration to assist with the passage of individuals to the airport to safety – both those within Kabul and those outside of the capital – as well as to consider cases where Afghans fleeing quickly may not have been able to collect or gather appropriate documents.

The group added that the “extensive changes to the SIV program” were done with broad bipartisan support to protect the Afghan allies. “We did so with the goal of improving the process for applicants while maintaining our national security,” they added.

Afghan people queue up to board a U S military aircraft to leave Afghanistan, at the military airport in Kabul on August 19, 2021 after Taliban's military takeover of Afghanistan. (Photo by Shakib RAHMANI / AFP) (Photo by SHAKIB RAHMANI/AFP via Getty Images)

Afghan people queue up to board a U S military aircraft to leave Afghanistan, at the military airport in Kabul on August 19, 2021 after Taliban’s military takeover of Afghanistan. (Photo by Shakib RAHMANI / AFP) (Photo by SHAKIB RAHMANI/AFP via Getty Images)

They emphasized that since the legislation was signed into law three weeks ago, they are now asking the Biden administration to move “quickly to ensure it is properly and fully implemented ensuring applicants and their families can get out of harm’s way.”

Follow Jacob Bliss on Twitter @jacobmbliss.

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Biden: ‘Rest of World Is Wondering About Us’ After Trump — We Have to Reduce ‘Venom,’ Make Democracy Work

Biden: ‘Rest of World Is Wondering About Us’ After Trump — We Have to Reduce ‘Venom,’ Make Democracy Work

President Joe Biden said during a town hall Wednesday on CNN that the rest of the world is wondering about the strength of the United States’ democracy because former President Donald Trump caused partisan political division.

Biden said, “The well has been so poisoned over the last four years, and even now, there’s still this lingering effort. A lot of my Republican friends, and I’m not talking about Portman, I’m not talking about your governor, a lot of my Republican friends say, ‘Joe, I know you’re right, but if I do this, I’ll get primaried, and I’ll lose my primary. I’ll be in trouble.’ But I think that’s all beginning to move. I don’t mean overnight.”

He continued, “Now you may not like me, and that’s your right. Look, it’s a simple thing. You can walk out and say I tonight like the way that guy wears his tie. I’m voting against him. You have a right to do that. You have a right to do that. But the kinds of things that are being said of late, I think you’re beginning to see some of the…sort of a venom starting to leak out of a lot of it. We’ve got to get beyond this. What do you say to your grandchildren or your children about what’s happening? Do you ever remember a time like this before in the entire history, whether you’re a Democrat or a Republican? This is not who we are.”

Biden added, “I’ve had a lot of experience internationally, and I mean not good or bad, just I have. I chaired the Foreign Relations Committee. I’ve been deeply involved. I did national security for our last administration with Barack but, folks, the rest of the world is wondering about us. Those of you who travel abroad, it’s not a joke. Not a joke. You know, when I went to this G7, all the major democracies, I walked in, and I said, ‘America’s back.’ I’m serious, heads of state. I give you my word as a Biden. They said, ‘Are you really back? We believe you, Joe, but will the country ever get it together?’ I talked to Xi Jinping in China, who I know well. We don’t agree on a lot of things. He’s a bright and really tough guy. He truly believes that the 21st century will be determined by oligarchs. Democracies can not function in the 21st century. The argument goes because things are moving so rapidly, so, so rapidly that you can’t pull together a nation that is divided to get the consensus on acting quickly. So autocrats, autocracies —I had a long meeting with Putin, I know him well — these guys are betting, I’m not joking, on autocracies. Democracy has to stand up to get something done.”

Follow Pam Key on Twitter @pamkeyNEN

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