We Need To Get Afghans Out of Afghanistan Too
After 20 years of U.S. military intervention, trillions of dollars lost, and thousands of soldiers and civilians killed in Afghanistan, that conflict’s conclusion is now written. Afghanistan has fallen to the Taliban. President Ashraf Ghani has fled the country.
The Taliban’s quick takeover defied even the most pessimistic projections from America’s foreign policy elites. Critics spent the weekend decrying the withdrawal as premature. But those years, dollars, and lives invested in training Afghan forces produced a guard that wouldn’t—or couldn’t—defend its own country. It’s highly unlikely that the U.S. could change that reality if only American troops had stayed a bit longer.
Afghans can no longer find hope within their country’s borders, and the U.S. shouldn’t attempt to install that hope there. But America can still give many Afghans what they need the most: an escape route.
Other countries have already stepped up to the challenge. Canada promised to admit more than 20,000 vulnerable Afghan citizens. The U.S. has taken a far less concrete approach. Reuters reported last week that officials were “scour[ing] for countries willing to house Afghan refugees” while their U.S. visa applications are processed. They’ve pestered Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan to take in at-risk Afghans who worked for the U.S. government, but they have not reached an agreement with any of those countries. Albania, Kosovo, and North Macedonia have graciously offered to house some political refugees, but only “temporarily.”
American options exist. Guam, painted by advocates as a viable visa processing point since early in President Joe Biden’s withdrawal, offered its territory as a landing pad back in June. “Guam has stood ready to serve as a safe and secure route for this type of humanitarian effort throughout our history,” wrote Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero to Biden. “I assure you that my administration is prepared to assist in executing your plans on this matter should Guam be chosen.”
There are now reports that the Department of Defense is preparing to bring thousands of Afghan refugees to American
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