Sen. Padilla calls for swift evacuation of Americans and vulnerable Afghans
The White House Tuesday continued to defend its decision to withdraw U.S. forces from Afghanistan, where 11,000 Americans remain.
At the same time, members of Congress — Democrats and Republicans — called for a quick evacuation of Americans and vulnerable Afghans.
The White House press briefing was held as Afghans, women in particular, feared for their future and their lives after a quick Taliban takeover that took the Biden administration by surprise.
On Tuesday, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan defended the withdrawal after 20 years of American “blood, treasure, sweat and tears.”
White House press secretary Jen Psaki, meanwhile, told reporters that 11,000 American citizens remain in Afghanistan.
U.S. Sen. Alex Padilla called for the swift evacuation of Americans and the nation’s Afghan allies and the most vulnerable populations, including women and children.
“I urge the Biden administration to create a humanitarian parole category for Afghan women and girls, human rights leaders, journalists and others who face retaliation from the Taliban,” the California Democrat said in a statement Tuesday.
“We also have a moral obligation to stand with those who stood side-by-side with U.S. troops and assisted in our efforts on the ground in Afghanistan over the last two decades,” Sen. Padilla continued.
Like others in Congress, Sen. Padilla called on the state and homeland security departments to take urgent measures to protect women and human rights defenders in Afghanistan who are facing urgent threats to their lives.
On Tuesday, President Joe Biden made his first call to a foreign leader after Kabul, the Afghan capital, fell.
In a statement, the White House reported President Biden and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson “discussed the need for continued close coordination among allies and democratic partners on Afghanistan policy going forward, including ways the global community can provide further humanitarian assistance and support for refugees and other vulnerable Afghans.”
The White House said President Biden and Prime Minister Johnson would join other G7 leaders in a virtual talk next week about Afghanistan.
Downing Street issued its own statement about the conversation between the two leaders. “The prime minister stressed the importance of not losing the gains made in Afghanistan over the last (20) years, of protecting ourselves against any emerging threat from terrorism and of continuing to support the people of Afghanistan.”