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Washington, D.C. – One year ago today, President Biden launched Operation Allies Refuge “to support relocation flights for interested and eligible Afghan nationals and their families who have supported the United States and our partners in Afghanistan, and are in the SIV application pipeline.” The program was launched after months of pleading from veteran organizations and Republicans and Democrats in Congress to begin evacuating those Afghans who served alongside our military and who had been thoroughly vetted through the Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) program, but who had not completed the last steps in the process. When announcing the operation, the Biden White House pledged that it would “get individuals who are eligible relocated out of the country in advance of the removal — of the withdrawal of troops at the end of August.” Unfortunately, despite this promise, because the president waited so late to take action, only a few thousand SIV applicants or SIV holders were evacuated before the country was overrun by the Taliban one month later, leaving tens of thousands of Afghan allies behind enemy lines and subject to reprisal killings. Below is a statement from House Foreign Affairs Committee Lead Republican Michael McCaul.

“One year after President Biden reiterated his promise to get those Afghans who risked their lives serving alongside our military to safety in the United States, more than 67,500 SIV applicants are still waiting to be processed, nearly all of whom are still trapped in Afghanistan. These wartime allies are often hunted down by the Taliban and murdered because they assisted the United States. Others are in hiding with their families, with little to eat and the fear of death constantly surrounding them. President Biden’s decision to abandon our Afghan allies is a stain on his presidency that will have long-lasting national security implications. The U.S. relies upon locals to fulfill our diplomatic and military missions around the world – many of whom will choose not to work with us after seeing the shameful way our allies in Afghanistan were treated by President Biden.”