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Rep. Young Kim Urges Secretary Blinken to Evacuate Americans, Allies from Afghanistan

September 13, 2021

Washington, DC – Today, U.S. Representative Young Kim (CA-39), Vice Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Asia, the Pacific, Central Asia and Nonproliferation, criticized the Administration’s handling of the Afghanistan withdrawal and urged Secretary of State Antony Blinken to do more the evacuation of Americans, Afghan partners and allies heading to a third country. 

Watch her remarks here and read a transcript below:

Thank you, Chair Meeks and Ranking Member McCaul.  

Secretary Blinken, I’ll get right to the point and would appreciate if you could keep your answers brief.  

The withdrawal from Afghanistan continues to be a disaster that has been actively worsened by this Administration’s response. The issue is not whether we should have withdrawn, but how we withdrew and the complete lack of accountability from this Administration. 

We’ve left hundreds of Americans stranded behind enemy lines, abandoned our Afghan partners who fought by our side, left behind 500 journalists from the U.S. Agency for Global Media in Afghanistan and left the fates of women and children in the Taliban’s hands. 

Veterans, ordinary citizens and Congressional offices, not the State Department, have been forced take the lead in helping individual Americans and Afghans flee the country through independent rescue operations. Unfortunately, many of these operations, especially charter flights, have met resistance from the State Department at every turn. 

One of the Afghan SIV’s we worked with Marine veterans to try to evacuate was Sayed Obaidullah Amin, who served and risked his life as a translator for U.S. forces. Despite having a pending SIV, P1 and P2 application, he was abandoned by this Administration during the evacuation process. He and his wife were killed during the Kabul airport attack desperately trying to get to safety, leaving their two infant sons orphans.  

It is too late to save his life, but we still have time to save others. My office and other Congressional offices have been working with Operation Leopard II to evacuate civilians—people that this Administration has left behind.  

These group includes Americans, our Afghan partners, and citizens of allied nations. This operation—without the help of the State Department—has secured routes into a neighboring country and has the approval of officials to stage people there for transport to a safe third country, where NGOs stand ready to feed, treat, and process these people.  

Without basic support from the State Department, this country has made it clear that everyone in this group will be sent back to Afghanistan to die at the hands of the Taliban.  

Secretary Blinken, they have started moving as we speak. The first group has 60 people in it, 40 of them are children.  

 

Your team already has the necessary information but has repeatedly refused to provide any assistance. I’ve called your office two times and talked to your officials. These people are all doomed if State does not approve and provide transport to a safe third country.  

 

Secretary Blinken, I need your commitment now that your department will approve and provide transport for these people. Do I have your word that you will make this happen?