Afghans in diaspora tell Biden it’s not enough to exit Afghanistan after 20 years of chaos and 241,000 deaths, major humanitarian assistance is needed

Afghans in the diaspora have sent a message to U.S. President Joseph R. Biden Jr. asserting that it is not enough to exit Afghanistan after 20 years of war that has left over 241,000 deaths. They said a major humanitarian assistance for Afghan people should follow the U.S. exit.

Afghans for a Better Tomorrow (AFBT), a U.S.-based Afghan diaspora organization, released a statement on August 19 outlining key priorities for the U.S. government to take in order to help save lives and prevent further harm of the Afghan people.

The statement has been endorsed by nearly 100 civil society organizations and over 80 prominent individuals, representing a diverse set of issue areas — from protecting migrants and refugees, preventing wars of choice, and protecting public health, to combating corruption, and promoting human rights. 

Afghans waiting to be let in at the gate of Hamid Karzai International Airport, Kabul, Afghanistan. 
Afghans waiting to be let in at the gate of Hamid Karzai International Airport, Kabul, Afghanistan.

Afghans in the diaspora asserted that “given the two decades of U.S. involvement in this devastating conflict, during which approximately 241,000 people were killed, the United States’ moral obligations do not end with its exit from the military theater in Afghanistan.”

According to them, “after pursuing 20 years of failed policies that have done incredible harm to Afghans, the United States and its NATO allies have a responsibility to accept every Afghan seeking refuge.” 

“The United States’ first and foremost priority should be the protection and safety of the airport in Kabul, allowing it to remain operational and working so military and commercial flights can operate so at-risk, vulnerable Afghans can escape the cruelty of the Taliban’s rule.

“Secondly, the Biden administration should announce a bold open-door Afghan refugee policy, welcoming any Afghan seeking refuge and safe haven. It should also push for neighboring countries to take in any Afghans that seek to transit there as well as push for the international community to drop its visa requirements on Afghan nationals, something that is currently restricting freedom of movement. Due to the gravity of the security situation in Afghanistan, the United States and its NATO allies should charter flights for all vulnerable groups who seek asylum and refuge in the United States or beyond. If they do not reach safety, many of these Afghans will be lashed, repressed, or killed,” their statement read.

They said “to further facilitate the urgent need to provide a safe haven to Afghans in danger, the Biden administration should increase refugee quotas for Afghanistan, as well as expedite processing for Special Immigrant Visas (SIV) and Priority 1, 2, and 3 (P1, P2, and P3) applicants. Further, any Afghan currently in the United States must immediately be given Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to avert any threat of deportation to a crisis.” 

Arash Azizzada, an organizer at AFBT, described the current situation as “the biggest crisis for the Afghan people that we have seen in over twenty years.”

“We have joined together with allies and friends across the spectrum to let the Biden administration know: the world is watching. You must act now and decisively to save the lives of Afghans at risk from repression by the Taliban,” Azizzada said.

Halema Wali, another organizer at AFBT, argued that “after 20 years of occupation, the least the United States owes us is to get Afghans who are under threat from the Taliban to a safe haven as well as refuge.”

“The Afghan people are trying to find a safe haven — things they were promised over the course of the last 20 years by the United States and NATO allies. As the world turns its backs on Afghanistan, they are owed just that, peace and refuge. Let Afghan refugees in,” added Lida Azim, an organizer at AFBT. 

President Joseph R. Biden Jr. is scheduled to deliver remarks on Tuesday afternoon ongoing efforts in Afghanistan to evacuate American citizens, SIV applicants and their families, and other vulnerable Afghans.

The White House said he will also talk about his meeting with G7 leaders on how nations can come together in support of the Afghan people.

Read the full statement below by leading Afghan diaspora group


Afghanistan is entering a humanitarian crisis it has not seen in decades in the wake of the exit by U.S. military forces. The Taliban have nearly taken over the entirety of the country and President Ghani has fled. The U.S. has evacuated its embassy and is currently attempting to secure Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul. Hundreds of thousands of people have been internally displaced. There are reports of the Taliban executing women in extrajudicial killings as well as imposing restrictions on women and journalists. Cash liquidity at banks is becoming an issue as droves of Afghans are withdrawing cash and many Afghans at risk from Taliban repression are attempting to leave the country in desperation.

Given the two decades of U.S. involvement in this devastating conflict, during which approximately 241,000 people were killed, the United States’ moral obligations do not end with its exit from the military theater in Afghanistan. After pursuing 20 years of failed policies that have done incredible harm to Afghans, the United States and its NATO allies have a responsibility to accept every Afghan seeking refuge. 

The United States’ first and foremost priority should be the protection and safety of the airport in Kabul, allowing it to remain operational and working so military and commercial flights can operate so at-risk, vulnerable Afghans can escape the cruelty of the Taliban’s rule.

Secondly, the Biden administration should announce a bold open-door Afghan refugee policy, welcoming any Afghan seeking refuge and safe haven. It should also push for neighboring countries to take in any Afghans that seek to transit there as well as push for the international community to drop its visa requirements on Afghan nationals, something that is currently restricting freedom of movement. Due to the gravity of the security situation in Afghanistan, the United States and its NATO allies should charter flights for all vulnerable groups who seek asylum and refuge in the United States or beyond. If they do not reach safety, many of these Afghans will be lashed, repressed, or killed.

To further facilitate the urgent need to provide a safe haven to Afghans in danger, the Biden administration should increase refugee quotas for Afghanistan, as well as expedite processing for Special Immigrant Visas (SIV) and Priority 1, 2, and 3 (P1, P2, and P3) applicants. Further, any Afghan currently in the United States must immediately be given Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to avert any threat of deportation to a crisis. 

To effectively evacuate Afghans who are at risk, it is also vital to increase the capacity of NGOs operating in Afghanistan that make referrals for the P2 program. The United States should also broaden the scope of the P2 program to include vulnerable Afghans — especially women and girls, human rights defenders and activists, anti-corruption actors from civil society, the LGBTQI+ community, people with disabilities, and ethnic and religious minorities — who have not yet been direct recipients of aid or protection. For many Afghans who don’t qualify for these programs, humanitarian parole and family reunification applications should be expedited and prioritized for processing.

Finally, the United States must provide a generous emergency humanitarian aid package that can meet the basic needs of millions of Afghans who will rely on the U.S. and the international community to ensure they do not starve.

Signed,

Afghans for a Better Tomorrow


Endorsed by: 

Organizations

Abolish ICE NY-NJ Coalition
Action for Palestine
Afghan Diaspora for Equality & Progress
Afghan Health Initiative
Afghan Women’s Mission
American Muslim Bar Association
American Muslim Empowerment Network (AMEN)
Arab American Association of New York
Arab Resource & Organizing Center (AROC)
Armenian-American Action Network 
Asian Pacific Institute on Gender-Based Violence
Asian Solidarity Collective
Association of Wartime Allies
Build Back Better USA
Center for Disability Rights
Center for International Policy
Center for LGBTQ Economic Advancement & Research (CLEAR)
Closing the Women’s Wealth Gap
CODEPINK
Common Defense
Crane Center for Mass Atrocity Prevention 
Daily Kos
Dissenters
DSA No War Campaign
Environmentalists Against War
Equal Rights Advocates
Equality Labs
Facing Abuse in Community Environments
Faith In Action
Faith in Public Life
Friends Committee on National Legislation
Global Zero
Grassroots Global Justice Alliance
Helpr
Human Rights First
Human Rights Initiative of North Texas
Indivisible
Institute for Policy Studies New Internationalism Project
International Civil Society Action Network (ICAN)
International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP)
Jefferson County Immigrant Rights Organization
Jewish Voice for Peace Action
Jewish World Watch
Jews for Racial & Economic Justice (JFREJ)
Justice Action Center
Justice Democrats 
Justice Is Global
Karen Organization of San Diego
MADRE
Military Veterans in Journalism 
MoveOn
MPower Change
National Alliance to End Sexual Violence
National Council of Asian Pacific Americans
National Iranian American Council
National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights
National Organization for Women
National Priorities Project at the Institute for Policy Studies
National Religious Campaign Against Torture
National Resource Center on Domestic Violence
Nemani Law LLC
New Jersey Peace Action
Northridge Indivisible
Oil Change International
OneAmerica Votes Muslim Council
Our Revolution
Partnership for the Advancement of New Americans (PANA) 
Peace Action 
Peace Action New York State
Peace, Justice, Sustainability NOW!
People Demanding Action
Physicians for Human Rights
Ploughshares Fund
Presbyterian Church (USA)
Progressive Change Institute
Refugee Council USA
Reviving the Islamic Sisterhood for Empowerment
RootsAction.org
September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows
Shia Racial Justice Coalition
Sikh Coalition
South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT)
Tahirih Justice Center
The Children’s Partnership
The Feminist Front 
The Swell Collective
U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants
UltraViolet Action
US Campaign for Palestinian Rights
Veterans For Peace
Vets For The People
Win Without War
Women Cross DMZ
Women’s Action for New Directions (WAND)
Women’s Foundation of Minnesota
Working Families Party
World BEYOND War
 

Individuals (affiliations are for identification purposes only:

Aneelah Afzali, Esq., Afghan-American
Seema Agnani
Mark Alexander
Mansoor Alicherry
Kristin Arioli
Amir Arman
Sophia Armen, Co-Chair, The Feminist Front
Sheryl Axelrod, President & CEO, The Axelrod Firm, PC
Dara Baldwin
Jeremy Barker, Director, Middle East Action Team, Religious Freedom Institute
Matthew Benedict
Shaazka Beyerle, Author, Curtailing Corruption: People Power for Accountability and Justice
Lucianito Bonilla
Eric Buhle
Jacqueline Burns, Foreign Policy Analyst 
Pam Campos-Palma, Director of Peace and Security, Working Families Party
Jorge De Cecco
Iris Chan
John J Conway, Climate Activist
David Cortright, Professor Emeritus, Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies, University of Notre Dame
Sadaf Doost
Monica Drago
Mariam Ehrari, Student, NYU Law
Jackynicole Eyocko, Truman National Security Project Security Fellow 
Thom Fistner
Laura Flanders, Host, The Laura Flanders Show
Stefanie Fox, Executive Director, Jewish Voice for Peace Action
Shana Friend, M.Ed.
Ruchi Gamta, Teacher
Shahed Ghoreishi, Foreign policy analyst 
Rachel Godin, Development Associate, Peace Action
Ellen Gottheil, M.D.
Shireen Hamza, PhD candidate, History of Science, Harvard University
Art Hanson
Jeanne Heitman
Lettie Hicks, CWWG member
Karin Hirschfeld
Steven Howard, ESOL Instructor
Tasbeet Iman
Jodi L. Jacobson, Senior Donor Advisor, Movement Voter Project
Karen Jacques, Ph.D.
Derek Johnson, Chief Executive Officer, Global Zero
Bryant A. Jones, Former U.S. Government Official (2008-2016)
Sahar Khan, Editor, Inkstick media 
Dorothea Leicher 
Alice LeTourneau
Faviola Lopez
Christine Lytle
Matthew Mack, MD
Kelli Mack
Sepehr Makaremi, DSA Secretariat
Rik Masterson
Azim Malikzada, IT Manager
Abdul Saboor Mobariz
Kate Modic, Ph.D
Nancy Morrison
Bahana Naimzadeh
My Tam Nguyen
Barbara Nilsen, MDiv
Molly Nolan
Liliana Olayo, Community Leader
Daniel Oron
Rosemarie Pace, Dr.
Laura Jean Palmer-Moloney
Edrease Peshtaz
Farhat Popal, Member, Afghan-American Coalition; Fellow, Truman National Security Project
Thomas Porter
Danny Postel, Center for International & Area Studies, Northwestern University
Nora Privitera, Immigration Attorney 
Fatima Rahmati , Activist and community advocate
Dr. Daniel J. Rogers, New York University Center for Global Affairs
Asiyah Sharifi, Esq.
Lynn Shoemaker
Wansun Song
Mark D Stewart
Laura Stusser-McNeil, ESOL Faculty, Highline College
Deena Sutter, MD, Colonel, Retired, USAF
Quyen Tu, Lawyer
Robert Wanager
John Wilkinson
Doug Wingeier, Rev. Dr.
Frank Wissler
Komal Zehrah

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