U.S. Senator Cortez Masto (D- Nev.) joined 51 Senators in urging the Biden administration to address the quickly deteriorating situation in Afghanistan that threatens the lives of tens of thousands of Afghan partners. Senator Cortez Masto is committed to protecting Afghans who’ve risked their lives to support U.S. diplomatic efforts abroad by strengthening the Afghan SIV program. She has been outspoken about the ongoing situation in the region and the importance of safely and quickly evacuating our allies and Afghan women leaders.
In the letter, the Senators call for the urgent evacuation of Afghan Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) applicants and their families, as well as the full and immediate implementation of their legislationto expand the Afghan SIV program and streamline the application process. They urge the administration to enforce strategic agency coordination and hold the Hamid Karzai International Airport to ensure the safety of Afghan partners and their families, in addition to U.S. citizens. The letter marks the latest Congressional response to the Taliban’s takeover and the danger posed to Afghan allies who served alongside the U.S. mission.
“The Taliban’s rapid ascendancy across Afghanistan and takeover of Kabul should not cause us to break our promise to the Afghans who helped us operate over the past twenty years and are counting on us for assistance. American inaction would ensure they become refugees or prime targets for Taliban retribution,” the Senators wrote.
“Specifically, we urge continued coordination between the Departments of State and Defense to secure and hold Hamid Karzai International Airport, including to allow for the continuation of military flights and the resumption of commercial and charter flights. We also urge your Administration to assist with the passage of individuals to the airport to safety – both those within Kabul and those outside of the capital – as well as to consider cases where Afghans fleeing quickly may not have been able to collect or gather appropriate documents,” the Senators added. “We were pleased that you immediately signed [our]…legislation to make extensive improvements to the SIV program into law three weeks ago, and now ask that you move just as quickly to ensure it is properly and fully implemented ensuring applicants and their families can get out of harm’s way.”
Find a copy of the letter can be found here.