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Senators Lobby Biden On Afghan Airlift

WASHINGTON, DC. (August 20, 2021) – U.S. Senator Deb Fischer (R-Neb.) today joined 15 of her colleagues in a letter to President Joe Biden urging him to fulfill his “solemn responsibility to evacuate all American citizens and Afghan partners without respect to arbitrary timelines dictated by the Taliban.”

 “We are extremely concerned that, despite our recommendations, your administration failed to establish a coherent plan to get all American civilians and Afghans who have aided us out of the country as quickly and safely as possible. This must be our top priority,” the senators wrote. “Not only should we protect American citizens in Afghanistan, we must also uphold our promise to the thousands of Afghans who put their lives on the line to work with us to advance our shared security goals.”

“You must devote all means necessary to ensure every American citizen and all eligible Afghan partners are successfully evacuated. In addition, you must make it clear to the Taliban and every other terrorist group that they will face severe consequences if they attempt to interfere with this process,” the senators continued.

The letter was led by Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla), the top Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee. In addition to Sen. Fischer, Senators Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.); John Boozman (R-Ark.); Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.); Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.); Joni Ernst (R-Iowa); Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa); John Hoeven (R-N.D.); Jim Lankford (R-Okla.); Marco Rubio (R-Fla.); Rick Scott (R-Fla.); Thom Tillis (R-N.C.); Pat Toomey (R-Pa.); Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.); and Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) co-signed the letter.

Read the full letter here.

Dear Mr. President,

From the very beginning, when you announced the complete withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan, Members of Congress – along with your top military advisors – advised you that a complete, unconditional U.S. withdrawal would be catastrophic. Now, we have seen what we predicted come to pass. The situation in Afghanistan has gone from bad to worse in a matter of weeks, and we are facing the worst-case scenario – a total Taliban takeover in Afghanistan.

 

We are extremely concerned that, despite our recommendations, your administration failed to establish a coherent plan to get all American civilians and Afghans who have aided us out of the country as quickly and safely as possible. This must be our top priority. Not only should we protect American citizens in Afghanistan, we must also uphold our promise to the thousands of Afghans who put their lives on the line to work with us to advance our shared security goals. Otherwise, they will face a tragic and deadly fate.

 

We are particularly perturbed that your administration is failing to guarantee the safety of Americans and our Afghan partners still in the country. Press reports indicate that while American citizens are being urged to make their way to Hamid Karzai International Airport, the United States government cannot guarantee their security, and has offered no support or guidance other than wishing them luck. Furthermore, your administration has articulated that the mission to remove Americans and our Afghan partners from Afghanistan will last until August 31 – without regard to whether all are safely evacuated. Your recent comments that U.S. troops would remain past August 31, if necessary, to ensure the removal of Americans are more reassuring, but we must maintain and project an uncompromising resolve to do whatever it takes to rescue our citizens and Afghan partners.

 

It is our solemn responsibility to evacuate all American citizens and Afghan partners without respect to arbitrary timelines dictated by the Taliban.

 

It is our understanding the Taliban has established a barricade around the airport, making it extremely dangerous for many to try and make their way to the airport. It is unacceptable that there is currently no plan or process to safely and securely recover these individuals. We urge you to use whatever means necessary to provide safe and secure passageway through any Taliban barriers for all American citizens and all eligible Afghan partners to appropriate evacuation points and then move them via safe corridors to exit the country.

 

Thousands of American citizens and Afghan partners are now trying desperately to get out. It would be unconscionable to leave any behind. You must devote all means necessary to ensure every American citizen and all eligible Afghan partners are successfully evacuated. In addition, you must make it clear to the Taliban and every other terrorist group that they will face severe consequences if they attempt to interfere with this process.

 

Sincerely,


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