The United States Must Accept All Afghan Refugees

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1. Invading Afghanistan Was The Real Failure

This weekend the Taliban finished recapturing much of Afghanistan with Taliban fighters concluding their run through the country in the capital of Kabul. The United States embassy was evacuated and moved to the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, where they will be stationed (the security situation permitting) as the United States wraps up its 20 year long occupation by August 31st. There is a lot of pontificating on who’s fault this is, who to blame, and what exactly was accomplished in those 20 years. Those questions all need reckoning with however, they all pale in comparison, at least in this current moment, to the humanitarian crisis faced by people on the ground in Afghanistan.

The invasion created this crisis no matter how you cut it, and there is plenty of blame to go around. Any calls for forever war must be met with the understanding that this entire situation was created by the United States to begin with. The invasion almost 20 years ago, and meddling even before that, directly led to this disaster. That disaster, and the people who’s lives it directly impacts, must be dealt with first before the navel gazing and blame casting can really begin. However, when that time comes and to the extent there is time for it now, it must always be remembered that the real failure here, at the root of all the injustices and harrowing events, is the invasion of Afghanistan in the first place.

2. The United States Must Accept All Afghan Refugees

As the Taliban regains control of the country the United States and its allies must remember the commitment many Afghan people made to their cause over the last 20 years. While the invasion was misguided tens of thousands of Afghans allied with the cause and directly opposed the Taliban. Estimates put those who worked with the United States and the U.S. backed administration of Hamid Karzai at over 88,000. All of those people and more must be evacuated and granted asylum as quickly as possible.

The United States has a moral obligation to help these people as they directly created the conditions that now put them in grave danger. It’s not a complicated issue, even if those who are responsible want you to think it is. Scenes like that from Hamid Karzai International Airport are a direct result of the failings of the Biden administration. They had months to plan this withdrawal and their poor planning has real human costs they must be held responsible for.

It’s obviously equally important to keep in mind that many of these potential refugees are only in the position they are on account of the United States and the U.S. backed regime. They offered up their support and in return the Biden administration must offer theirs. And that support should not be limited to just those 88,000+ who helped the United States in their mission, but should instead be offered to any Afghan who seeks to escape the turbulent and changing political situation in their home country.

3. Remember the Human Cost of the War in Afghanistan

Many American commentators have lamented the trillions of dollars spent and thousands of lives lost on the American side of the war in Afghanistan. Few have focused on the 241,000 Afghans who died in the fighting. The over 200,000 Afghans who lost their lives, including Taliban fighters, are the biggest cost of the war in Afghanistan. The country has been decimated and entire generations wiped out. While the United States suffered losses of its own, there must be an effort to center the losses of Afghanistan and its people, those are the most significant losses and anything short fails to reckon with the true cost of American empire.

4 . The Botched Afghanistan Withdrawal is on Joe Biden

The crisis at hand here isn’t just the 20 year long war in Afghanistan (though that itself is a crisis as well) but rather the humanitarian crisis that the incompetent end to the conflict will create in the weeks and months to come as the Taliban reasserts control. There are an estimated 88,000 Afghans with connections to the United States and the U.S. backed government. With reports coming in of retaliatory behavior from the Taliban against perceived enemies of their regime there is a need to act quickly and any failure to do so falls squarely on Joe Biden. Not to sensationalize or advocate for forever war, but by way of example one Southern Afghanistan town reported almost 30 executions once the Taliban took control. There were months to prevent this, maybe the fall of the country and all the brutality therein wasn’t preventable, but no matter how bad it gets, Biden’s failure to act helped bring it to that point.

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Also, listen to the podcast wherever you find podcasts.

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