CNSI Leaders Call on the Administration to Safely Evacuate All Afghan Allies Immediately
August 16, 2021
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Leaders with the Council on National Security and Immigration (CNSI), including an Afghanistan veteran, are responding today to the failed withdrawal from Afghanistan.
Since President Biden announced his intention to pull U.S. troops from Afghanistan, the CNSI has strongly encouraged the president and Congress to work together to ensure that America’s allies in Afghanistan, including Afghan interpreters and contractors, have the opportunity to petition for Special Immigrant Visas (SIVs) by expanding the number of SIVs available and to accelerate the review and processing of those visas.
“As a Navy officer in Afghanistan, I witnessed the sacrifices our Afghan allies made in pursuit of freedom and democracy. The collapse of the Afghan government and the ensuing chaos has placed these allies at the center of a humanitarian crisis,” said Rick “Ozzie” Nelson, former Director of the Office of Combating Terrorism, National Security Council staffer and U.S. Navy helicopter pilot in Afghanistan. “For months, the Council on National Security and Immigration has asked the Biden administration to act swiftly and protect Afghans who served alongside American servicemembers, diplomats, and aid workers. While our embassy in Kabul has been shuttered, our moral obligation to assist our Afghan allies remains. We call on the Biden administration and the Congress to immediately evacuate our Afghan allies and to prepare to safely relocate displaced Afghans in the aftermath of this crisis. We owe this to both our Afghan partners and the thousands of American troops who fought and sacrificed to defeat al Qaeda and the Taliban.”
For months, the administration has stated that it was prepared to pre-empt a foreseeable humanitarian crisis by ensuring the safety of Afghans and their family members who assisted the men and women of our American armed forces, but those efforts barely got off the ground before the Afghan government fell.
“I am both heartbroken and outraged by Kabul’s collapse and the chaos in Afghanistan,” said Elizabeth Neumann, Founding CNSI Leader and former DHS Assistant Secretary for Counterterrorism and Threat Prevention. “The Biden administration’s failure to execute a timely evacuation has put tens of thousands of vulnerable Afghans in grave danger – especially women and girls. They should have been prioritized and evacuated before we withdrew our military forces. We promised them safety in return for their assistance – we have failed them. Not only will they likely pay the ultimate price for our broken promises, but, in future challenges, partners will not trust the word of the United States. This creates significant risks for the homeland. The Biden administration must now make every effort to save our allies from the Taliban. We must also demonstrate global leadership and mobilize the international community to safely resettle thousands of Afghan refugees who will inevitably flee Taliban rule.”