FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 14, 2021
WITHDRAWING TROOPS IN AFGHANISTAN MUST INCLUDE SOLUTIONS FOR AFGHANS IN DANGER
(Washington, D.C.) – Today, President Biden announced that all U.S. troops stationed in Afghanistan will be withdrawn by September 11, 2021. Having represented and advocated on behalf of thousands of Afghans in danger over the last decade, the International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP) is extremely concerned about the many Afghan civilians and allies, who will be left behind without pathways for humanitarian protection.
Earlier this year, an IRAP client was murdered by the Taliban for his work with the United States. He had applied to the Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) program to be resettled to safety, but his application was first erroneously denied and then stuck in processing for years until it was too late. Sadly, processing delays in the program are all too common, an issue that IRAP has challenged in court twice.
In response to today’s news, IRAP’s Policy Counsel, Adam Bates, said: “The process of beginning to withdraw troops from Afghanistan must include plans to protect the lives of Afghans at risk of retaliation from the Taliban. Sadly, the current avenues to safety available to Afghans are insufficient. The Special Immigrant Visa program intended to protect our Afghan allies is plagued with egregious delays and obstacles for applicants. Many more Afghans are not eligible for this program and must rely on other precarious options, such as humanitarian parole or refugee resettlement.
“Unfortunately, bringing vulnerable Afghans to safety in the United States through the refugee program is not a viable option because the Biden Administration has yet to lift former President Trump’s discriminatory restrictions on refugee resettlement or increase this year’s refugee admissions numbers. In short, if the Biden Administration wants to live up to its promises and humanitarian values, it needs to immediately offer concrete and actionable plans to bring these Afghans to safety.”
To view the press release, click here.