Emergency request to Congress on Situation in Afghanistan
As an organization committed to pursuing peace with justice, WAND is proud to join with 42 organizations in supporting urgent U.S. government action to protect Afghans most at risk due to the government takeover by the Taliban. We are particularly concerned about the future of women and girls in Afghanistan, especially activists and advocates, former members of the Afghan government, students, and recent graduates who face violent retribution if they are not evacuated from the country. We stand with the Alliance for Peacebuilding, Our Secure Future, and 40 other organizations in demanding the following immediate actions be taken by the U.S. Congress to address the growing crisis in Afghanistan:
With the August 31st withdrawal deadline of U.S. troops in Afghanistan looming, the U.S. must take urgent action to protect Afghans most at-risk. The lack of coordination and planning to protect and evacuate at-risk civilians during the planned troop withdrawal is unacceptable. Reports indicate the Taliban is going door-to-door trying to identify Afghans that worked with the U.S., NATO, and U.S.-funded non-governmental organizations. Civil society demands the following immediate actions by the U.S. Congress to address the emergency in Afghanistan.
Urgently press President Biden, Secretary of State Blinken, Administrator Power, and Secretary of Defense Austin, to safely get Americans and our Afghan partners, allies, and others at-risk , particularly women, out of Afghanistan now.
Ensure the U.S. military and diplomatic presence remains until all Americans and vulnerable Afghans are successfully evacuated beyond the arbitrary withdrawal deadline.
Call on the U.S. military to provide security assistance to at-risk Afghans to safely travel to the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul through safety zones and other means.
Provide immediate oversight of the U.S. withdrawal, evacuation process, and a civilian protection and atrocities prevention plan. Congress must urgently convene, including, but not limited to, in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, House Foreign Affairs, and both Congressional Armed Services and Judiciary Committees. Call Secretary Blinken, Administrator Power, Secretary of Defense Austin, and Special Representative on Afghanistan Reconciliation Khalilzad to testify about U.S. withdrawal, evacuation plans and visa-processing efforts, short-and long-term civilian protection and atrocities prevention plans, the deteriorating security situation, and legal restrictions on and licenses/waivers required for the delivery of U.S.-funded humanitarian and development assistance in Afghanistan.
Demand the Administration provide clarity about the number of evacuees to-date, as well as its commitments from third-party countries for temporary and long-term settlement of Afghan refugees and plans to utilize the existing U.S. military installations for temporary refuge. The Administration must also immediately clarify its short-and long-term plans to expeditiously process Special Immigrant Visas (SIVs), as well as parole and refugee applications (e.g., P1 and P2) for eligible Afghans and provide Afghans in the U.S. with Temporary Protected Status.
Require an accounting of how the Administration is using recently appropriated funds to address the evacuation, visa processing, and refugee resettlement processes now. The U.S. must focus on evacuations first and address bureaucratic processes later.
Demand the U.S. immediately call for an emergency session of the UN Security Council and propose a strong civilian and atrocity protection/observer mandate. The Administration must work with international and bilateral partners to establish a security and humanitarian corridor to facilitate evacuation and delivery of humanitarian aid.
Clarify U.S. diplomatic efforts with India, Pakistan, and other regional partners to ensure international borders are open and the availability of assistance, funding, and telecommunications—all of which are critical to the free flow of food, money, and basic essentials to Afghans, as well as evacuation, protection, visa processing, and resettlement.