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Blumenthal Urges President Biden to Expand Evacuation of At-Risk Afghan Allies & Their Families

Afghan allies – including the family members of U.S. veterans, former military translators, civil servants, humanitarian workers, journalists, and others – remain at significant risk

[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – Today, U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) wrote President Joe Biden calling for a clear, effective strategy to expedite the evacuation of Americans and at-risk Afghan allies who face significant, imminent risk if they remain in Afghanistan.

Blumenthal urged President Biden to appoint an “evacuation czar” to coordinate expanded efforts to arrange the swift departure and resettlement of Afghan nationals who “worked for the American government, served alongside our troops, or dedicated their lives to the U.S. mission in Afghanistan.”

Blumenthal noted that measures to evacuate at-risk Afghan allies and conduct security screenings outside of Afghanistan are fully compatible with rigorous and thorough vetting processes already in place under current policies. “To fulfil our moral obligations as well as protect our own security, we can establish a process allowing at-risk Afghan allies to complete vetting and screening in a third country before resettlement,” Blumenthal wrote.

Blumenthal encouraged President Biden to direct his administration to work with independent non-profit organizations – many organized by veterans and servicemembers – that are coordinating additional evacuation efforts. Blumenthal also raised concern that current policies are restricting these efforts by preventing the departure of several humanitarian charter flights that have been denied permission to land at Al Udeid Air Base because their manifests do not meet certain narrow categories for entry into the lily pad system. The passengers on these flights include longtime U.S. government workers and the relatives of U.S. military combat veterans – all of whom are being directly targeted by the Taliban for their or their family’s work in support of the American mission in Afghanistan.

Blumenthal wrote: “Keeping our nation’s word to these at-risk Afghan allies means swiftly establishing a clear, consistent, and compassionate strategy for evacuation, including for humanitarian charter flights seeking to land at Al Udeid and other lily pad locations.”

The full text of Blumenthal’s letter is available here.