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A coalition of war veterans and advocacy organizations in the United States on Monday endorsed the evacuation of Afghan military and allies from their country following the Taliban’s rise to power and warned that reneging on that commitment would pose a national security risk and damage the country’s reputation.
In a missive circulated on Twitter, some 45 organizations called for a meeting with President Joe Biden to express their concern about “the fate” of their wartime partners.
“Failure to fulfill our obligations to these Afghans would not only pose a national security risk — damaging America’s reputation abroad and eroding confidence in our military, which is critical to future operations — but would also condemn veterans and survivors of the Afghanistan conflict to a lifetime of moral injury,” they warned.
In that context, they called for ensuring a “safe evacuation” of Americans, Afghan allies and partners.
In addition, they called for securing the Kabul airport and its access routes to allow “safe and efficient passage” of those to be evacuated.
The veterans advocated granting a humanitarian parole benefit to Afghans without visas who are evacuated because they are at risk.
Likewise, that the same resettlement benefits be guaranteed for all, including those who obtain special immigration visas (SIVs) reserved for translators and interpreters who worked with the U.S. military.
Regarding Afghans who must be transferred to third countries before arriving at U.S. territory, they urged that they be taken as soon as possible to nations that “comply with the Refugee Convention and have a record of respect for human rights.”
State Department spokesman Ned Price said on Monday that Spain, Italy and Germany have committed to process the cases of 15,000 Afghan collaborators and at-risk populations so that they can be resettled in the United States.
Other countries, including Bahrain, Colombia and Kuwait, are also helping the U.S. evacuate Afghans.
The United States has accelerated the evacuation of Americans and their Afghan aid workers and family members from Afghanistan after the Taliban took power in that country.