AFSA President Eric Rubin released the following statement on Afghanistan:
The fall of Kabul was a painful and wrenching day for all of us, especially for our Foreign Service colleagues, members of other U.S. government agencies, non-governmental organizations and members of the U.S. and allied militaries who served their country under difficult and at times perilous circumstances in the two-decade long war in Afghanistan. We lost treasured Foreign Service and Foreign Service National colleagues and remember with deep respect and appreciation the several thousand U.S. servicemembers who lost their lives and many more who came home grievously injured, physically and emotionally.
Now is the time to support our colleagues and the servicemembers who remain behind in Afghanistan or are in the process of returning to protect and assist with evacuation efforts. We hope and pray that many of the Afghan citizens who assisted us and the multilateral coalition in our efforts will be able to reach safe-haven and begin their lives anew. We recognize and deeply regret that some will almost certainly be left behind. We urge the U.S and allied governments to do everything possible to help those who wish to leave, and to insist on the safety of all those who remain.
We urge our government to continue to move quickly to bring as many Afghans to safety as is humanly possible, and to admit as many as possible to the United States as refugees or parolees. The administration has already waived medical exams for entry. Security vetting is obviously essential, but other clearances such as financial arrangements can wait. Many of our members, including retired members with years of experience rescuing refugees from earlier wars, have contacted us to offer help with processing and hosting new arrivals. We hope such offers will be accepted quickly.
In the meantime, our thoughts are with our fallen colleagues and servicemembers and with the long-suffering people of Afghanistan. They must not be forgotten.
This is a welcome statement. The anti-refugee voices are starting to fill the airwaves and social media with fear mongering. The hashtag #refugeesNOTwelcome is also trending this morning.
No one wants to be forcibly displaced from one’s community and home country. Please help if you can.