Human Rights First Welcomes Action on Afghan Allies, Calls for Full Evacuation to Safety in Guam
WASHINGTON – With reports that the Biden administration will commence “Operation Allies Refuge” later this month to evacuate Afghan allies as the U.S. completes its military withdrawal from Afghanistan, Human Rights First welcomed progress on the operation while calling on the administration to clarify the extent of its plan.
Reports indicate that the United States is investigating three categories of locations to move our Afghan allies: overseas military installations, U.S. territories, and third countries.
“This is a welcome first step, but details are key. The administration has named the operation, but they have yet to name where they will send our Afghan allies. These Afghans served with U.S. forces, they earned the safety that can only come from being evacuated to U.S. territory,” said Chris Purdy, Project Manager for Human Rights First’s Veterans for American Ideals.
The president’s recent statements have also left unclear who will be evacuated as America’s longest war comes to an end.
“To meet our promises to our Afghan allies, any evacuation must include all 18,000 Afghans who worked with U.S. forces and their families,” said Jennifer Quigley, Senior Director of Government Affairs at Human Rights First. “To limit the evacuation by allies’ status in the visa application ‘pipeline’ would do a terrible wrong to them and to America’s reputation around the world.”
Events in Afghanistan show how critical it is to start the operation now rather than waiting until the end of July.
“The Taliban says they control 85% of Afghanistan. They are laying siege to Afghan cities,” adds Purdy. “The administration must act now so that the promises of safety we have long made to our allies are real and achievable. What has been done up to this point is not enough, but we stand ready to help the administration in their effort to fully evacuate all our allies.”
Human Rights First and Rep. Seth Moulton (D-MA) have advocated for a concrete plan that evacuates the 18,000 Afghan allies and their families to the relative safety of U.S. territory in Guam. Guam’s governor has invited this effort, Members of Congress have endorsed it, and there is strong historical precedent for such a refugee-processing operation to be based in that U.S. territory.
For more about our evacuation plan, visit http://evacuateourallies.org.