Washington DC – Afghan American activist Halema Wali says she receives dozens of texts daily from people trying to flee Afghanistan.
Her cousin, whose father worked with the US, and his family could not get on an evacuation flight from the capital Kabul this month, after two failed attempts and a fruitless 36-hour wait without food or water on the Hamid Karzai International Airport.
Now Wali’s family members live among safe houses for fear of the Taliban’s repression, the community activist said, as the Biden administration takes calls to do more to help vulnerable Afghans living in the country to the last US troops. left Monday.
“While President Biden is celebrating the withdrawal from one of the longest-running wars in the United States, it leaves behind … American citizens, permanent legal residents, visa holders and members of risks of Afghan civil society,” Wali said on Tuesday. virtual news conference said. .
Wali, co-founder of the Afghans For A Better Tomorrow Campaign, added that the US has a moral responsibility towards the people of Afghanistan after the 20-year war, followed by a “messy and irresponsible” withdrawal.
‘President Biden has been elected on a values-based platform, and this must be extended at this point to the mess he has now created in Afghanistan; millions of lives are at stake, ”she said.
During the same news conference, Lida Azim, co-founder of Afghan Diaspora For Equality and Progress, made a list of demands to the Biden administration, including ending US drone strikes in Afghanistan, taking in refugees and delivering humanitarian aid to the Afghan people.
Sunday, a U.S. drone strike that Washington said targeted Islamic State fighters in Khorasan province, ISKP (ISIS-K), an ISIL (ISIS) ally. 10 Afghan civilians killed, including several children, according to family members.
ISKP accepted responsibility for an attack near the airport last week killed at least 175 people.
“We are not interested in the failed war on terror policy of the last 20 years,” Azim said.
President Joe Biden and his top assistants praised the evacuation operation, describes it as the greatest in history and emphasizes that the chaos that accompanied it is inevitable.
The withdrawal began on August 14, a day before the Taliban took control of Kabul following a blast offensive ahead of a August 31 U.S. military withdrawal deadline set by Biden. The Taliban takeover comes after Afghan President Ashraf Ghani fled the country and the Afghan security forces collapsed.
U.S. troops remained in control of Hamid Karzai International Airport (HKIA) until Monday. According to the State Department, Washington and its allies have deported 123,000 U.S. citizens, third-country nationals and Afghan allies.
Pray it repeatedly defends his decision US troops withdraw from Afghanistan by Monday, even amid growing criticism from US allies and lawmakers in Washington who describes chaotic scenes at the airport in Kabul as a failure for the administration.
Bilal Askaryar, an Afghan-American activist leading the #Welcome with Dignity campaign at the Women’s Refugee Commission, said the deaths of Afghan civilians on Sunday were the direct result of a ‘mismanaged’ withdrawal.
“We in the Afghan civil society in the Diaspora and others have been saying for years, if not decades, that any withdrawal should be managed responsibly,” Askaryar said. “What we are seeing now in Afghanistan is a humanitarian crisis that is exacerbated by the way in which the United States has left in a random way.”
Afghan American activists said on Tuesday that the crisis could be better dealt with, starting with the streamlining of visas in the early stages of withdrawal.
Both Azim and Wali said the U.S. military should have expanded the security environment around the airport to ensure better and safer access to the site, while Azim also said the State Department could circumvent some of the bureaucratic requirements to streamline visa processing.
“They could have at least had a better withdrawal,” she said. “They could have expanded the perimeter around the airport to provide more security … They could have done much better.”