August 31st was the designated deadline for the United States to evacuate individuals in Afghanistan. However, not all individuals have been evacuated. Over the weekend, Florida Rep. Michael Waltz (R) directed a letter to U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, calling for the Department of State “to clear manifested charter flights in Afghanistan and around the region to evacuate Americans and at-risk Afghan allies” that have been “left behind following the abandonment of Hamid Karzai International Airport.”
The lawmaker has vehemently criticized the Biden Administration for its response to the political turmoil in Afghanistan, and in the letter, Waltz calls evacuating those left behind “paramount.”
In the letter, Waltz explained that “as a result of the full withdrawal of our military and diplomatic presence on 31 August, the Department of State (State) is now heavily reliant on private sector resources to assist those in hiding and should leverage their availability.” In turn, the Florida lawmaker and Green Beret asked: “State to formally collaborate and coordinate with these Non-Governmental Organizations to guide at-risk individuals to safe locations and clear manifested charter flights in the region.”
The reason for the request is “that manifested flights are available, funded, and ready to fly.” Because “groups of American citizens, legal permanent residents, SIVs, and their families remain in hiding in the vicinity of airports around Afghanistan, the request calls for the State to work with private groups to ensure that said individuals are safely returned to the United States.
The letter also indicates further humanitarian responses “for predominantly Hazara and Tajik provinces in the north of Kabul to ensure safe-haven for internally displaced people and American citizens who cannot otherwise find evacuation across an international border.”
Waltz expresses that Former Vice President Saleh has already agreed to provide such sanctuary for those in need, so State is asked to “urge neighboring countries, such as Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and India, to authorize the use of their airfields for evacuation flights and humanitarian flights into and out these areas.”