During the March 25 press conference of US President Joe Biden, he signaled that his instinct was not to stay in Afghanistan long. “We’re leaving,” he said. “The question is when do we leave.”
We believe that the discussion of the future trajectory of the US posture in Afghanistan must be broadened to explain the humanitarian implications of our decisions. The current debate largely avoids this problem, but the fact is that if the United States leaves without a political solution in place, the Afghans have been helping us for the past two decades and our families. They may face serious risks.
This is not an argument for military maintenance or for the withdrawal of US troops. Instead, what will happen to the many Afghans who have helped us for the past 20 years and continue to aspire to build a freer, more pluralistic Afghanistan, if US and NATO forces leave without Is there a sustainable peace solution?
For two decades, tens of thousands of Afghans have worked directly for or supporting the US military and civilian presence. In 2009, Congress created a Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) program to allow a small group of that group to immigrate to the United States. But this process has been slow and difficult perform. Only over 18,000 of these applications have been approved in the past decade. Today, there are 18,000 other SIV applications pending.
Another concern concerns the fate of Afghans, especially women and children, who will be at greater risk in Taliban-dominated territory. Afghanistan is one of the youngest countries in the world. More than half of the living Afghans were born in an era of international intervention after 9/11. Many others have matured in the process of expanding large, internationally supported educational opportunities, constitutionally promoting democratic values, and in the free media environment that the United States and its partners have grown. dance.
These intelligent, dynamic and dedicated young men and women are emerging as leaders, in the Afghan government, the private sector and civil society organizations. Many other Afghans have gained technical and vocational skills while working with the United States and other international organizations in Afghanistan.
As we leave Afghanistan, what happens to this remarkable generation of Afghans who bet that with the help of the United States and its partners, they can build a good future. than?
What happens next?
Due to continued violence and slow negotiations between Afghans over the peace process, the Biden administration and its NATO allies are considering extending May 1 due to the US-Taliban agreement. February 2020. Many people are still wondering how this might play out, but without a political solution among the Afghans, it is very likely that the conflict will become even more violent, capable of creating more chaos, broader civil war and more refugees.
Today, Afghanistan is one of the most violent, poorest, and damaged the nations. The fee of the civilian casualties and journalist Being killed is one of the tallest in the world. According to a recent one survey announced by the World Economic Forum, Afghanistan has the largest gender gap of any country in the world in terms of economic opportunity and educational attainment.
It took 20 years for the Afghans to talk about their country’s future. Hatred runs deep. We cannot assume that everyone wants to be part of an Afghan state that integrates bitter enemies with completely different views about Afghanistan’s future.
Without a political settlement and the civil war worsens, the US and its partners need to give viable paths to those who are reliably threatened by that fact. and those who want to get rid of conflict. Providing a replacement home for those who feel threatened may even help reduce opposition to the peace process.
If the United States leaves immediately, or if we leave early without a peace agreement, the conflict is likely to get worse. A recent reviews published by the Center for Counter-Terrorism in West Point concludes that the presence of US forces in the country since 2014 has slowed the loss of Afghan forces, but has not stopped them. Without the support of the air and the logistical and technical support of the United States, Afghan forces could lose land. The US intelligence community reportedly achieved a similar level conclude and that continued to fuel debates within the US government. One can foresee a series of scenarios where the Afghan dreams of peace, freedom, and prosperity, which the US helped nurture, would face near impossible difficulties.
During the Afghan civil war in the mid-1990s, millions of Afghans sought asylum in Iran and Pakistan. Based on Look beyond the worldThe 2.7 million Afghans are still refugees, facing very difficult circumstances in some cases. After the Vietnam War, millions of Vietnamese fled on boats into Hoang Hai. These so-called “boat people” needed emergency rescue.
We should not be prepared if a similar emergency occurs in Afghanistan. Helping those who have helped us is our clear moral responsibility. We need a serious debate about what the United States owes the Afghans, who have memorized our message of building a modern Afghanistan with democratic values and respect for human rights, if they must return to orthodox or chaotic rule.
A call to action
While US diplomats work hard to pursue a permanent diplomatic solution to the conflict, the US government and Congress must also plan for the worst. The following urgent steps are needed to begin planning for the humanitarian impact of our awaiting withdrawal from Afghanistan.
First, expedite processing and decision-making regarding existing SIV applications, and if possible make full use of the remaining 4,000 visas available under the existing cumulative limit of 22,620. specified in the National Assembly Defense Authorization Act of 2021.
Second, review the existing quotas on admissions, and consider increasing them on an emergency basis if the United States withdraws. On Feb. 4, as part of a broader executive order on immigration-related policies, Biden instructed the agencies to take action. 90-day rating of the SIV program. This review could address the potential increase in demand as the United States withdraws, both in number and in demand, as well as by establishing procedures for handling Afghan candidates at missions. of the United States in other countries if they must flee.
Third, Congress should consider urgent action to create an intake pathway for Afghans who are particularly vulnerable in the post-withdrawal environment, such as those trained in the United States or individuals who work for international non-governmental organizations and who have worked in Afghan government agencies in close cooperation with the United States.
Fourth, the State Department needs to conduct a rapid assessment, in collaboration with international partners, of the potential humanitarian effects of the withdrawal and planning for a response. The Biden administration should address these issues with NATO allies and other partners along the way and encourage the application of similar recognition policies. Our European allies are particularly sensitive to the risk of expanding their migration out of Afghanistan, due to the steady stream of Afghans trying to migrate. Europe since 2014.
In striving for a sustainable peace, the United States must also realize that withdrawing from Afghanistan does not mean giving up on the many Afghans who have supported our mission or the people we have helped throughout. way. Welcoming more Afghans to the United States for refugees is not only the best way to honor our commitments, but also the best way to reaffirm our values as a nation. of immigrants.