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“The mission is not complete until all Afghan allies are safe”: IRAP Urges Biden to Extend Evacuation

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                     

August 24, 2021


Spencer Tilger


(New York – NY) This afternoon, President Biden reaffirmed his administration’s goal of completing the American withdrawal from Afghanistan by August 31, while repeating his pledge to evacuate Afghan allies and “complete the mission.”

The following is a statement from Sunil Varghese, Policy Director of the International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP), in reaction:

“The mission is not complete until all Afghan allies are safe. Too many Afghans who worked and served side-by-side with Americans are being left behind. Most Afghans in danger, including the majority of IRAP’s clients, have not been evacuated and remain either unable to get into the airport or stranded across Afghanistan without safe passage to Kabul. Meanwhile, the Taliban have vowed to deny Afghans access to the airport. We are beyond concerned that the U.S. is not doing nearly enough to ensure that those at risk will be able to get to safety in time.

In order to fulfill America’s moral and legal commitments to U.S.-affiliated Afghans, the United States must not leave Afghanistan until each vulnerable Afghan is evacuated and on their way to safety in the United States. The Biden administration should immediately:

  1. Extend the evacuation for as long as it takes to get all Afghan allies out.
  1. Implement a plan to get all Afghan allies who are stranded in Kabul or around the country safely into the airport and on a flight with the United States as the final destination.

IRAP calls on the United States to do everything in its power to bring as many people to safety before it is too late.”

Additional Background

CBS News polling offers a reminder that evacuating Afghans is both the right thing to do and the popular thing to do. The poll finds support for helping “Afghan translators enter the U.S.” is at a 81-19% margin – including support from 90% of Democrats, 79% of Independents, and 76% of Republicans.

Last week, IRAP filed multiple emergency petitions for protection with the U.S. State Department on behalf of all Afghan applicants in the SIV program, demanding the U.S. government fulfill its legal obligation to protect our allies by evacuating them and their families to safety immediately.

The International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP) develops and enforces a set of legal and human rights for refugees and displaced persons. Mobilizing direct legal aid, litigation, and systemic advocacy, IRAP serves the world’s most persecuted individuals and empowers the next generation of human rights leaders.