Ernst to President Biden: Devote “All Means Necessary” to Evacuate Americans, Eligible Partners from Afghanistan
Aug 19 2021
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), a veteran of the Global War on Terror and member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, is urging President Joe Biden to fulfill his “solemn responsibility to evacuate all American citizens and Afghan partners without respect to arbitrary timelines dictated by the Taliban.” Ernst joined 15 of her Republican colleagues on a letter to the president.
“We are extremely concerned that, despite our recommendations, your administration failed to establish a coherent plan to get all American civilians and Afghans who have aided us out of the country as quickly and safely as possible. This must be our top priority,” the senators wrote. “Not only should we protect American citizens in Afghanistan, we must also uphold our promise to the thousands of Afghans who put their lives on the line to work with us to advance our shared security goals.”
“You must devote all means necessary to ensure every American citizen and all eligible Afghan partners are successfully evacuated. In addition, you must make it clear to the Taliban and every other terrorist group that they will face severe consequences if they attempt to interfere with this process,” the senators continued.
This letter reinforces Ernst’s calls for the Biden Administration to authorize the U.S. military to guarantee safe passage for Americans to Hamid Karzai International Airport, and commit to evacuating every American from the country before again withdrawing U.S. forces from Afghanistan at or beyond the end of August.
In May, Ernst teamed up with Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) to lead a bipartisan effort to express widespread support in the Senate for the Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) program for Afghans, and to urge continued support from the administration to uphold the integrity of the program. Their bipartisan bill to provide immediate improvements to and strengthen the efficiency of the Afghan Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) program was signed into law.
Earlier today Ernst and Shaheen led 53 of their colleagues in urging the administration to address the quickly deteriorating situation in Afghanistan and implement the Ernst-Shaheen SIV bill.