Washington is failing the Afghan people on all fronts

By | February 12, 2022

Grace Segers writes:

Nearly six months after a chaotic and widely criticized withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan, capping an ignominious two decades of conflict that saw the war-ravaged country quickly retaken by the Taliban, the Biden administration and Congress have yet to fully address the lingering crises facing the American allies left behind and the evacuees living in limbo without a pathway to citizenship.

The destabilized situation presents a crisis with multiple fronts, both in Afghanistan and here at home. Lawmakers must solve the problem of how to offer humanitarian aid to the country’s suffering civilians and how to continue to evacuate Afghan allies who aided Americans now that they and their families are in grave danger. Once evacuated, however, there is the matter of resettling the evacuees and providing them with a pathway to permanent residency before their temporary parole status expires after two years.

The situation in Afghanistan is stark. Around 23 million people, more than half of Afghanistan’s population, do not have enough to eat, and 8.7 million are at risk of starvation, according to the United Nations. The United States announced earlier in January that it was providing an additional $308 million in humanitarian aid to the Afghan people, bringing the total up to more than $700 million in assistance since October. But some lawmakers argue that the administration needs to release some of the Afghan financial assets frozen by the U.S., including $7 billion at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. A bipartisan group of representatives sent a letter to the White House last month asking that some of those assets be distributed through U.N. agencies to address the humanitarian crisis. (On Friday morning, The New York Times reported that Biden is taking steps to direct $3.5 billion of that money toward humanitarian relief in Afghanistan.) [Continue reading…]

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