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Kinzinger Letter Asks Full Scope of Afghanistan Evacuation

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Washington, DC, September 1, 2021 | Maura Gillespie (202-225-3635) | comments
Congressman Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) sent a letter to Secretary of State, Antony Blinken and Secretary of Defense, Lloyd Austin to inquire about the evacuation process, the status of those left behind, and the plan moving forward in Afghanistan.
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WASHINGTON, DC – Following the announcement that the last U.S. troops had officially left Afghanistan, Congressman Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) sent a letter to Secretary of State, Antony Blinken and Secretary of Defense, Lloyd Austin to inquire about the evacuation process, the status of those left behind, and the plan moving forward.

While I commend the administration for saving thousands of lives, I believe more could have been done to prevent the tragic loss of life on August 26, 2021 and to better prepare for the chaos that ensued this last week. And I’m looking to our Secretaries of State and Defense to get to those answers,” said Congressman Kinzinger. “Our military community stepped up in a way many can hardly grasp right now, but I am incredibly proud of the men and women who have served this mission and all those that risked life and limb to defend this nation and save the lives of our allies. This effort is not over and nor should it be. We can never give up until our fellow Americans and our allies are safe.”

The full text of the letter is available below and a signed copy can be found attached and on the Congressman’s website here.

Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Dear Secretary Blinken and Secretary Austin,

Now that the United States combat mission in Afghanistan has ended, Congress must begin our Constitutional duty of reviewing what occurred following the fall of Kabul to the Taliban, and the ensuing evacuation of American citizen, legal permanent residents, human rights defenders, and, of course, our Afghan allies. While I commend the administration for saving thousands of lives ,I believe more could have been done to prevent the tragic loss of life on August 26,2021as well as what will unfold in the coming weeks as the Taliban, ISIS-K, and al-Qaeda seek their retribution on those who helped the United States.

For these reasons, we request written responses to the following questions no later than September 8, 2021.

1. How many American citizens, citizens of third countries, legal permanent residents, Afghans with issued SIVs, Afghans with pending SIV applications, individuals with pending P1s, pending P2s, and humanitarian parole/significant public benefit parole applications were evacuated from Afghanistan to date?

a. Please provide a breakdown of the “Type of Individual,”i.e. specify how many evacuees fit into each of the previously listed categories. Please include a breakdown of total evacuations by week as well.

b. Please provide a breakdown of how many of each were evacuated on flights provided at no cost by the U.S. government.

2. How many American citizens, citizens of third countries, legal permanent residents, Afghans with issued SIVs, Afghans with pending SIV applications, individuals with pending P1s, pending P2s, and humanitarian parole/significant public benefit parole applications requested assistance?

3. How many American citizens, citizens of third countries, legal permanent residents, Afghans with issued SIVs, Afghans with pending SIV applications, individuals with pending P1s, pending P2s, and humanitarian parole/significant public benefit parole applications were left behind?

4. How many SIVs are currently pending approval of the Chief of Mission(COM)?

5. After April 14, 2021, how many SIVs were denied COM approval based on not meeting the two-year required service?

6. How many citizens of third countries, Afghans with issued SIVs, Afghans with pending SIV applications, individuals with pending P1s, pending P2s, and humanitarian parole/significant public benefit parole applications were issued visas or airport entry documents, but were unable to get through Taliban checkpoints?

7. How many family dependents of legal permanent residents were left behind?

8. It has been reported that US officials provided the Taliban with a list of the names of Americans and Afghan allies who were approved for travel. Of the names on this list, how many remain in Afghanistan?

9. How many Afghan nationals have been evacuated by the Department of Defense? How many Afghan nationals have been evacuated through other means in coordination with the Department of Defense? How many Afghan nationals have been transferred to the United States? How many Afghan nationals remain in processing at locations operated by or in coordination with the United States in third countries? How many Afghan nationals evacuated by or in coordination with the Department of Defense have been returned to Afghanistan?

Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter, and I look forward to your response.

Sincerely,

In sending this letter, Congressman Kinzinger received support from the following organizations: No One Left Behind; International Refugee Assistance Program (IRAP); Special Operations Associations of America (SOAA); Alliance in Support of the Afghan People (ASAP).

“No One Left Behind is tracking almost 200 families who were issued SIVs who were told to shelter in place by the State Department and never made it into the airport. We are tracking over 1,000 SIV applicant families who are in the same situation. All are now hiding in Kabul. We are working to identify the true footprint of how many of our SIV allies the United States left behind,” said James Miervaldis, Chairman of No One Left Behind.

“Special Operations Association of America is proud of the heroic efforts of the special operations community on the ground in Afghanistan saving thousands of lives. SOAA firmly supports a full congressional investigation of the planning and execution of the evacuation of Afghanistan. With multiple failures, potentially preventable loss of life, and far too many decision makers who admitted to being surprised by what was happening on the ground, the American people in general and the SOF community in specific deserve answers,” said Daniel Elkins, Executive Director and Co-Founder of SOAA.

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