Rep. Tom Malinowski sent a letter urging President Joe Biden to offer a comprehensive strategy to ensure the survival and success of the Afghan government and protection of vulnerable Afghans as our troops withdraw from the country.
“The capabilities of Afghanistan’s security forces will determine whether the Taliban succeeds in reimposing medieval rule over Afghanistan’s 40 million people; whether al Qaeda and ISIS reestablish terrorist sanctuary there; and whether the country once again unravels in civil war…” Malinowski wrote in the letter with 10 other U.S. Congressman.
President Biden declared in April that “it is time to end the forever war” in Afghanistan, saying that the United States had long ago accomplished its main mission of denying terrorists a haven in the country and that leaving American forces there was no longer worth the cost in blood and money.
“We owe our Afghan partners and our servicemembers a thoughtful strategy that will improve conditions on the ground. If we delay, the security situation may deteriorate, and we may find ourselves falling back on old tactics to respond to an urgent crisis,” stated Biden.
The roughly 2,500 American troops on the ground there started to be gradually withdrawn starting in May 1, with the process complete by Sept. 11, a timetable intended to signal the President’s determination to end a vexing and largely failed chapter in American foreign policy.
Malinowski emphasized that the United States government needs to maintain robust assistance to Afghan security forces once American troops are gone, including mechanisms that allow the Afghans to continue hiring the international contracts critical to maintaining their Air Force, and the provision of intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) information to Afghan forces.
“The United States has a particular obligation to the thousands of Afghan citizens who have supported U.S. operations, including as translators, contractors, and security personnel,” the letter stated. “We must move swiftly to expedite life-saving programs that provide a path to safety for those who loyally worked alongside U.S. troops, diplomats, and contractors.
The North Jersey Congressman urged the President to expedite the processing of Special Immigrant Visas for Afghans who worked for the U.S. government, and to allow Afghans to register identifying information with the U.S. Embassy now to speed future adjudication of refugee or asylum claims.
Additionally, the House members asked the administration to select Afghanistan as a pilot country for the Global Fragility Act, triggering a whole-of-government coordination effort for post-conflict reconstruction.
Malinowski advocated for taking a stronger stance against those who support terrorists, adding “should the Taliban continue its efforts to remove the Afghan government by force, we believe it is time to consider seriously a tougher approach against its international backers, including potential sanctions.”