|Congressman Emmer recognizes the one-year anniversary of the failed withdrawal from Afghanistan|
“One year ago today, the world watched as 13 American servicemembers and thousands of our Afghani allies and their families were abandoned by the Biden Administration. Since the final American plane left Kabul last August, we continue to receive bits and pieces of new information about the people and the material left behind as a result of this failed withdrawal, but still do not have the complete picture of this disastrous situation. We cannot wait any longer; we need to know exactly how many Americans and our Afghani partners are still left behind and what President Biden’s plan is to return them to safety,” Emmer said.
As the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan rapidly approached with numerous questions still unanswered, Congressman Emmer sent a letter to President Biden expressing deep concern about the fates of the thousands of Afghan partners who assisted the United States Armed Forces with interpreting and translating services. Specifically, Emmer asked Biden about the plan for evacuation and on-the-ground operations for Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) holders in Afghanistan.
The concerning lack of action to approve and process these SIV applications at the time foreshadowed the tragic and avoidable spectacle the world watched a few months later.
An estimated 81,000 Afghans had pending SIV applications in August 2021.
Approximately 78,000 of them were left behind when Afghanistan fell to the Taliban. On August 26, 2021, thirteen American service members were killed in a bombing of the Kabul Airport while trying to evacuate SIV holders and allies.
Upon learning that nearly 800 Americans have been evacuated from Afghanistan since the end of August 2021, Congressman Emmer plans to submit another letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinken asking about the status of these applicants and their plan for evacuating them from the region.