Former United States Ambassador Sam Brownback has issued a statement on the Biden administration handing Afghanistan over to the Taliban. Brownback served as the Trump administration’s ambassador for religious freedom around the world.
“With the completion of the United States military withdrawal from Afghanistan, the humanitarian crisis is likely only just beginning. While there is cause to rejoice for those who were able to leave the country, many more were left behind.
“There is now a major effort underway to find safe passage out of Afghanistan for the thousands who fear their religion or past affiliation with the United States could make them a target for the Taliban or other terrorist groups. The State Department must support these efforts and not, as some reports indicate has been done, present obstacles. It is a matter of life and death. We have already seen and heard about brutal reprisal killings by the Taliban and those stories are sure to continue.
Brownback went on to outline three steps to respond to the Afghanistan crisis.
“There are three steps the U.S. can immediately take to alleviate the humanitarian crisis. The first is strongly supporting our French, United Kingdom, and German allies in their efforts to establish multiple safe zones in Afghanistan with protection from the international community. Second, we should work with neighboring countries to ensure that they allow vulnerable people to transit through to destination countries. Closed borders could be a death sentence for some refugees, but we should also not expect these nations to shoulder the burden alone. Third, the U.S. and other Western nations should provide visas for religious minorities and individuals who worked with Western NGOs. This can be done by the State Department, but I am hearing disturbing accounts of bureaucracy impeding progress in this area.
“The crisis unfolding is heartbreaking and made worse by the knowledge it could have been avoided, but now is not the time for reflection. The U.S. and our allies must act quickly to save as many people as we can.”