On the First Anniversary of the Fall of Kabul, More Work to be Done
NEW YORK — One year after the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan and the fall of Kabul to the Taliban, Human Rights First continues to urge the United States to keep its promises to our Afghan allies and other at-risk Afghans.
“After twenty years of war, the fall of Afghanistan was deeply difficult for many at-risk Afghans, Americans, and veterans of the U.S. armed forces. In the days and weeks following that moment, we worked together across political lines, skill sets, and time zones – both inside and outside of government — to help at-risk Afghans and our allies find safety,” said Michael Breen, President and CEO of Human Rights First and a veteran of the war in Afghanistan. “Last week’s introduction in Congress of an Afghan Adjustment Act signals that the United States will not forget the Afghans who served shoulder to shoulder with U.S. forces and those who committed to our democratic ideals. Human Rights First thanks Representatives Blumenauer, Meijer, Nadler, Kinzinger, Lofgren, Miller-Meeks, Crow, Upton, and Peters, as well as Senators Klobuchar, Graham, Coons, Blunt, Blumenthal, and Murkowski for leading the way in their respective chambers.”
Breen continues, “A year into this new era for Afghans and Afghanistan, we are equally committed to advocating for a more substantial relocation of at-risk Afghans still in their home country and working for the resettlement in the United States of Afghan refugees waiting around the world. To help Afghans in the United States who are navigating the immigration system, Human Right First will continue to provide legal assistance through our Project: Afghan Legal Assistance and our pro bono partners. It’s time these allies, friends, and neighbors are made to feel a valued part of the American family because they are.”
“It is important to reflect and acknowledge the moment that is upon us with this anniversary. For many Americans, it will be impossible to forget the scenes at Hamid Karzai International Airport. America watched and mourned with our Afghan family. But then we acted,” said Seelai Karzai, Afghanistan Advocacy Campaign Manager at Human Rights First. “Across the country, thousands got to work helping to resettle our Afghan allies. The heroic work of countless everyday people saved lives and embodies the spirit of selfless service and love that underpins healthy communities across the United States. Since then, tens of thousands of Afghans have arrived in our local neighborhoods. But our work has not ended. We must ensure that our allies have a permanent and welcome home in our communities.“
There are currently over 76,000 Afghans who have arrived in the United States as a result of last year’s August evacuation. Many of them do not have a viable pathway to legal permanent residence. The Afghan Adjustment Act would provide an opportunity to finally resettle in the United States without fear of returning to the Taliban. While Congress does its part, the Biden administration must honor its promise and begin resettling the many thousands of Afghans who were not included in the August evacuation.