In response to news that U.S. President Joe Biden will not extend the August 31 deadline for evacuating U.S. citizens and at-risk Afghans from Afghanistan, the following statement is attributable to Susannah Sirkin, director of policy at Physicians for Human Rights:
“By publicly refusing to move back his August 31 deadline and committing only to evacuate U.S. citizens, President Biden is effectively condemning thousands of Afghan human rights defenders, women’s rights activists, journalists, and others to persecution at the hands of the Taliban.
“Given the ongoing chaos at the Kabul airport and the lengthy delays in processing visas and humanitarian protection, it is painfully clear that the United States cannot safely evacuate all U.S. citizens, U.S. partners, and at-risk Afghans in the next one week. Rather than adhere to his own arbitrary deadline or concede to Taliban demands, President Biden should extend evacuation efforts until at-risk Afghans who seek to leave can be safely evacuated and resettled in the United States or third countries.
“This is not charity, it is the bare minimum that the United States should do. The United States must fulfill its promise to its allies and partners that the United States would not dishonorably abandon them.”
Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) is a New York-based advocacy organization that uses science and medicine to prevent mass atrocities and severe human rights violations. Learn more here.