100,000 signatures reached
To: President Joe Biden and U.S. Congress
President Biden must support the most vulnerable in Afghanistan and lift refugee caps
Afghanistan is on the brink of a humanitarian disaster. In the wake of the exit by American ground forces, the Taliban has taken over the capitol and most of the country. The conflict has picked up significant steam with innocent Afghan civilians bearing the brunt. The loss of lives—including the 13 Americans troops and more than 150 Afghans who were killed in the airport and hotel bombings—is yet another devastating moment in a war designed from the onset decades ago to be a "forever war." These scenes may feel new to us, but Afghans have lived this reality day in and day out for decades.
While the U.S. is exiting the military theater in Afghanistan, its moral obligations do not end there. It’s of vital importance that the United States keeps the airport up and running, in order to continue the evacuation of Afghan refugees. Leaving after the U.S. employees are evacuated would abandon thousands who will be persecuted under Taliban rule. This is not acceptable.
The United States furthermore has a responsibility to provide a safe haven for refugees created by this conflict, as one of the main drivers of the conflict. After pursuing 20 years of failed policies that have harmed Afghans, the very least the United States can do is provide refuge for those seeking it as the Taliban aims to take the country by force, repressing vulnerable Afghans.
We are calling on Congress to ask the administration for an open door refugee policy. We are also demanding of the Biden admin to increase the capacity of NGOs operating in the country to make referrals for the P2 program, especially for women and girls, activists, and religious and ethnic minorities. Many vulnerable Afghans--women, the youth, the disabled, the LGBTQI+ community, ethnic and religious minorities--were not direct recipients of aid but we feel compelled to advocate that they be eligible and assisted under the P2 program.
We furthermore insist that the U.S. expedite processing for SIV and P2 applicants. Since the security situation is so grave, the U.S. must charter flights for all the vulnerable groups who seek asylum and safe haven in the United States or beyond. These promising Afghans could be integrate well into American society. The alternative would be them being lashed, repressed or killed.
We continue to urge the Biden administration to ensure the safety of the most vulnerable by using diplomacy to pressure the Taliban into an immediate, unconditional ceasefire with a commitment to protect civilians under the direction of the United Nations.
As part of its continued withdrawal plan and commitment to the Afghan people, we call upon the Biden administration to commit to:
* Hold a cordon around the airport and keep it open
* Order every military and charter aircraft he can get to start running people out
* Demand third countries drop their visa requirements on Afghans
* Demand Pakistan and the northern countries open their borders
Why is this important?
As the United States and NATO troops withdraw from Afghanistan, the war will continue for the Afghan people. Taliban forces, along with ISIS, continue, to bombard Afghans with violence and attacks similar to the most recent attack on school girls. In addition, the Afghan military continues to harm Afghan civilians, as reported by the U.N. Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA).
Afghanistan was further ravaged by the longest war in American history and as a result, has almost entirely become dependent on humanitarian aid. The Taliban targets women and other marginalized groups, such as Shia Muslims and the ethnic minority group Hazaras, in the country. And while the Taliban has had control over parts of the country and continued to oppress women in smaller towns, Kabul and other major metropolitan areas have afforded vulnerable Afghans some semblance of safety, freedom, and access to education.
While it is in the United States and Afghanistan’s best interest for the United States to withdraw, the United States owes Afghans support and a commitment to peace.
In addition to failing its COVID response, Afghanistan is facing a devastating drought with estimates that as many as 17 million Afghans, about 42% of the population, will face famine-like conditions this year, according to the International Organization Migration.
We are first and second-generation Afghan Americans and the children of Afghan refugees in America.
Together, we can ensure that the Afghan people have a chance at a future without war, violence, or a humanitarian crisis. It’s the least they’re owed after decades of occupation.