Biden Announces Launch of "Operation Allies Refuge" for Evacuation of Afghan Wartime Allies | LIRS

Biden Announces Launch of “Operation Allies Refuge” for Evacuation of Afghan Wartime Allies

Published On: Donate
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 24, 2021
Contact: Timothy Young | tyoung@lirs.org | 443-257-6310
 
Washington D.C. – The Biden administration has announced the start of “Operation Allies Refuge,” which will evacuate Afghan Special Immigration Visa applicants, initially reported by Reuters and confirmed by Press Secretary Jen Psaki on Wednesday.A senior administration official said the flights would begin in the last week of this month, but other details were withheld for “operational security.”
 
The following is a statement by Krish O’Mara Vignarajah, President and CEO of Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service – a refugee resettlement agency that has welcomed and supported more than 11,000 wartime allies from Afghanistan and Iraq:
 
Today’s announcement is a vital step forward in honoring the promise we made to Afghan allies who faithfully served our mission. The danger that they and their families face as a result of their service cannot be overstated. We are eager to see this long-overdue evacuation operationalized in a meaningful way.
 
Unfortunately, there are still far too many questions left unanswered, including who exactly and how many people are eligible for evacuation. With partners estimating that 49% of those at risk reside outside of Kabul, how will those outside the capital access safety? And to what countries will they be evacuated? We have serious concerns about the protection of our allies’ human rights in countries that have been rumored as potential partners in this effort.
 
We continue to call for the swift evacuation of Afghan allies to locations that respect basic rights and assure safety for those Afghans who are at risk because they assisted the U.S. mission. We believe the U.S. territory of Guam offers such assurances, given its history of hosting former evacuations of allies from Vietnam and Iraq. We cannot delegate or outsource our moral and humanitarian obligations when so many lives hang in the balance.
 
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