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National Security Leaders Call on the Biden Administration to Evacuate Our Afghan Allies

May 27, 2021

Press Release

Washington, D.C. — A press conference Thursday underscored the Council on National Security and Immigration’s (CNSI’s) call for urgent action by the Biden administration to evacuate Afghan allies who put their safety and lives at risk to assist the United States.

These allies, who helped in the fight against the Taliban and Al Qaeda, are currently at great risk as the United States quickens its pace to withdraw from Afghanistan this summer. The CNSI sent a letter to President Biden on the issue yesterday.

“We have a moral responsibility to evacuate our Afghan partners who have risked their lives for the United States over the past 20 years,” said Elizabeth Neumann, former Assistant Secretary of Counterterrorism and Threat Prevention at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. “The Biden Administration must act now. Failure to protect our Afghan allies would reflect poorly on the United States’ global image and undermine our national security.”

Rick “Ozzie” Nelson, former Director of the Office of Combating Terrorism, National Security Council staffer and U.S. Navy helicopter pilot, said that from a national security perspective, abandoning allies who fought alongside the United States could hurt future missions overseas: “As a retired Navy officer and a veteran of the conflict in Afghanistan, I witnessed firsthand the critical role our Afghan partners played in executing our mission. Their service and safety should be of utmost importance to the Biden Administration and Congress. The Council on National Security and Immigration calls on President Biden to act with urgency, and protect our Afghan allies who put their lives on the line for us.”

In this week’s letter, CNSI leaders urged the Biden administration to create and execute a plan to evacuate the roughly 18,000 Afghans who’ve applied for Special Immigrant Visas (SIVs), address the current SIV applicant backlog, and help other Afghans who have assisted the U.S. military and government. Read the full letter here.

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