Afghanistan falls – Now what?

  • Action #1: Press our government to speed the process and accept more refugees – both targeted women and citizens who aided our soldiers
  • Action #2 – Email action for legislators.
  • Action #3 – Email Biden
  • Action #4 – Sign this petition to Biden
  • Action #5 – Join in helping displaced Afghan citizens

As we watch this 20-year-long, two-trillion dollar ball of conflict unravel, the end of a 9/11 chain reaction that ultimately killed 6,000 Americans and wounded 20,722, we are bombarded by partisan shouting from both sides. Two great posts by historian Heather Cox Richardson help reconstruct the steps that brought us to this moment: here and here. Judd at Popular Information has a great post on how mainstream media is once again using untrustworthy narrators in assessing the withdrawal. The full details of the Taliban’s takeover, which was estimated to take 90 days, but took only ten, will be teased out over time. Meanwhile, some of that history is already being erased. (The link lauding Trump’s now-missing “accomplishment” page for his Taliban deal is here. Experts note that his “deal,” which undercut the legitimacy of the Afghan government, contained no enforcement mechanisms and included no penalties for failing to comply with its terms.)

Update: Statements from Rep. Ted Lieu, VoteVets.org.

In the meantime, here are some useful things to do.

Action #1: Press our government to speed the process and accept more refugees – both targeted women and citizens who aided our soldiers

(Action from Chop Wood Carry Water/Small Deeds Done)

Pro-West” Afghan women are now being hunted door-to-door, but only 44 senators signed on to a letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas urging the administration to to take “swift, robust action to protect and support Afghan women leaders facing unparalleled danger following the Taliban’s violent sweep across Afghanistan and seizure of Kabul.” This would include, at minimum, a humanitarian parole category specifically for these women, streamlining the paperwork process to relocate them to safety, expanding processing capacity within U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, appointing an interagency refugee coordinator and increasing and supporting evacuation efforts.

Meanwhile, H.R. 3985 – “ALLIES Act of 2021″ still needs to be passed through the Senate.

Minimal script for senators who signed letter (includes Padilla & Feinstein): I’m calling from [zip code] and I want to thank the Senator for signing the letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas regarding the plight of Afghan women now in danger from the Taliban. In addition to pushing for all the actions in that letter to help these women, I want Senator [___] to support H.R. 3985 – “ALLIES Act of 2021” with a flexible higher limit as necessary to prevent a possible massacre of Afghan citizens whose actions to aid our military puts both them and their families in mortal danger.

Minimal script for senators who missed the opportunity to do the right thing: I’m calling from [zip code] and I want to know why the Senator didn’t sign the letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas regarding the plight of Afghan women now in danger from the Taliban? Does the Senator not believe protecting allies and human rights advocates is in our national interest? In addition to pushing for all the actions in that letter to help these women, I want Senator [___] to push through H.R. 3985 – “ALLIES Act of 2021” with a flexible higher limit as necessary to prevent a possible massacre of Afghan citizens whose actions to aid our military puts both them and their families in mortal danger.

(Note: Rep. Brownley was a cosponsor. H.R. 3985 passed the House 407-16. The Republicans who voted against the resolution were the usual collection of anti-democratic cranks: Andy Biggs of Arizona, Lauren Boebert of Colorado, Mo Brooks of Alabama, Scott DesJarlais of Tennessee, Jeff Duncan of South Carolina, Bob Good of Virginia, Paul Gosar of Arizona, Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, Kevin Hern of Oklahoma, Jody Hice of Georgia, Thomas Massie of Kentucky, Barry Moore of Alabama, Scott Perry of Pennsylvania, Bill Posey of Florida, Matthew Rosendale of Montana and Chip Roy of Texas.)

Contact:

  • Senator Feinstein: email, DC (202) 224-3841, LA (310) 914-7300, SF (415) 393-0707, SD (619) 231-9712, Fresno (559) 485-7430
  • and Senator Padilla: email, DC (202) 224-3553, LA (310) 231-4494, SAC (916) 448-2787, Fresno (559) 497-5109, SF (415) 981-9369, SD (619) 239-3884
  • Who is my representative/senator?: https://whoismyrepresentative.com

Action #2 – Email action for legislators.

Minimal email script for legislators (HIAS):

We need our elected representatives to stand for the rights and safety of refugees and asylum seekers. 

Tell the Biden Administration to continue humanitarian evacuations from Afghanistan, and not just of those affiliated with the US, but but also human rights advocates (especially women and girls), journalists, and religious and ethnic minorities, all of whom will face grave danger without immediate assistance.

Publicly support including the pathway to citizenship from Dreamers, TPS holders and their families in the Reconciliation package.

Tell the Biden Administration to stop using Title 42 expulsions and let those who desperately need asylum to enter our country.

Tell the Biden Administration to keep their promise to set the refugee admissions goal next fiscal year at 125,000 and make sure the program has the staff and resources it needs to accomplish this important goal.

Many of us are citizens because our forebears came here due to dire circumstances. Our community stands for welcome, and I urge you to reflect the best of our nation by supporting Afghans in crisis, a path to citizenship, asylum seekers, and refugee resettlement.

Contact:

Action #3 – Email Biden

Dear Joe,

You said that our focus in Afghanistan wasn’t supposed to be “nation-building.” But for 20 years, a lifetime for some, Afghan women have been able to study and work. What was welcome opportunity now puts them in mortal danger, as Taliban extremists hunt them door-to-door. I agree with 1st and 2nd-generation Afghan-Americans that our actions had consequences, intended or not, and now we have a moral responsibility to provide a safe haven for refugees created as a result of our exiting this long conflict.

We need an open door refugee policy and an increase the capacity of local NGOs to make referrals for the P2 program, especially for women and girls, the disabled, the LGBTQI+ community, activists, and religious and ethnic minorities who weren’t direct recipients of aid but who’ll be in danger under a Taliban regime.

Please expedite processing for SIV and P2 applicants and get these vulnerable groups who seek asylum out of the country. In the meantime, your administration should use diplomacy to pressure the Taliban into an immediate, unconditional ceasefire with a commitment to protect civilians under the direction of the United Nations.

As part of our withdrawal plan and commitment to the Afghan people, please commit to:

* Holding a cordon around the airport to keep it open 
* Ordering every military and charter aircraft available to evacuate refugees 
* Demand third countries drop their visa requirements on Afghan refugees 
* Demand Pakistan and the northern countries open their borders

Watching educated women and the families of those who aided our actions be imprisoned or executed on live TV will deeply scar our nation. Instead, we ask you to welcome them as future Americans, as was done with my forebears, and for your own family who fled famine in Ireland. As you said “I can’t guarantee we’re going to solve everything, but I can guarantee we can make everything better…We can change the lives of so many people.

Yes, we can.

Contact: here

Action #4 – Sign this petition to Biden

TO: President Joe Biden and U.S. Congress – President Biden must support the most vulnerable in Afghanistan and lift refugee caps – Petition here.

Action #5 – Join in helping displaced Afghan citizens

Each of us has a choice. We can be like Tucker “Replacement Theory” Carlson, or we can honor our American heritage of immigration like this… (video from 2019).

  • Stay Informed
  • Volunteer
    • Afghan refugees will be arriving in the United States as soon as flights can start leaving Kabul, and we will need volunteers to help welcome them. Please reach out to a HIAS resettlement partner or other local refugee agency to sign up.
    • LIRS (Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service) is calling for volunteers to support incoming Afghan Allies, Special Immigrant Visa holders, who are being evacuated to the United States. Afghan Allies are currently arriving in specific regions (MA/VA/DC, Seattle/Tacoma, Fort Worth, and Dallas) but want to be ready to welcome these families wherever they go.
      • If you are able to volunteer your time to help with services like airport pick-ups, apartment set-ups, or bringing a meal, sign up here: https://lirsconnect.org/get_involved/action_center/siv
      • Note they are looking specifically for people in MA/VA/DC, Seattle/Tacoma, Fort Worth, and Dallas – but are requesting that you sign up even if you don’t live in those areas so they are ready to call upon volunteers no matter where refugees are sent.
    • HIAS is partnering with Airbnb to connect displaced people in need of temporary housing – including refugees from Afghanistan – to community members who have available space to share. To learn more about this program, please visit Airbnb’s site
    • You can find opportunities to be a community sponsor across the country. See the map of opportunities here (there are many!) Type in our zip code for the closest: https://rcusa.org/get-involved/volunteer/#map. Los Angeles already has several options.
  • Donate
Image: Women of Afghanistan stand outside the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, Wednesday, March 1, 2006. President George W. Bush and Laura Bush made a surprise visit to the city and presided over a ceremonial ribbon-cutting at the embassy. Wikimedia Commons.

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