In response to President Biden’s speech on Afghanistan, Noah Gottschalk, Global Policy Lead for Oxfam America, made the following statement:
“We are deeply concerned about the rapidly-deteriorating situation in Afghanistan and the multiplying threats to Afghan people, particularly women and girls. The Biden administration has a responsibility to prevent an unfolding human tragedy from becoming a full-blown catastrophe on its watch by ensuring both a swift humanitarian response and the urgent evacuation of people in need of safety outside of Afghanistan.
“So far, the response from the Biden administration has been shockingly slow and woefully inadequate.
“The US has the capacity to ensure the safe and immediate evacuation of Afghans in danger, particularly human rights defenders, women’s rights activists, and members of ethnic and religious minority groups. The Biden administration must use all the available tools at its disposal to welcome them in the US, including by expanding and accelerating processing for Special Immigrant Visas (SIVs) and P1 and P2s, as well as offering humanitarian parole.
“At the same time, the Biden administration must provide support to Afghan NGOs and organizations working in neighboring countries to support the country’s 2.9 million internally displaced and 2.2 million refugees and asylum seekers.
“Now is not the time for half-measures. The US has a moral obligation to the Afghan people who have literally risked their lives in pursuit of peace, development, and human rights, particularly over the last 20 years. We cannot afford to let another day or another hour pass without bold and rapid action.”