Statement on President Biden’s Speech Addressing Evacuation Efforts in Afghanistan | LIRS

Statement on President Biden’s Speech Addressing Evacuation Efforts in Afghanistan

Published On: Donate

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 20, 2021
Contact: Timothy Young | tyoung@lirs.org | 443-257-6310

Washington D.C. – President Joe Biden spoke today about the evacuation of Americans, Afghan allies, and other vulnerable populations from Kabul as the United States struggles with scenes of chaos at the city’s airport and Taliban checkpoints cutting off access to those seeking to flee.

The president stated that the U.S. has evacuated nearly 14,000 people since Aug 14 – 5,700 of whom were relocated in the past 24 hours. The Department of Defense previously estimated it could move 5,000 to 9,000 people per day. The president did not specify the exact number of American citizens in Afghanistan.

The following is a statement from Krish O’Mara Vignarajah, President and CEO of Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, a national refugee resettlement agency assisting in the relocation and resettlement of Afghan allies and refugees:

“We are deeply grateful for the Herculean efforts of our courageous military service members and diplomats on the ground. While we have lost precious time, we still can prevent the loss of precious lives and complete one of the largest humanitarian rescues in history. We have full confidence in our military’s capability to fulfill this mission, so long as they are provided the resources and time to do so.

“While the evacuation effort has made progress in ramping up to 5,700 evacuees yesterday, we urge the administration to reach the full 9,000 capacity outlined by the Pentagon. It must also leverage every possible means to secure safe passage for every Afghan eligible for evacuation. At this juncture, one misstep in the streets of Kabul could be a literal death sentence for those deemed enemies by the Taliban. We also urge the administration to focus on evacuating Afghan allies and vulnerable Afghans, especially women, who cannot reach the airport or are stranded in other parts of the country.

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