A bipartisan group composed of more than 50 U.S. senators has called on President Joe Biden to move immediately to evacuate all Afghan citizens who have applied for a Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) and their families as the Taliban move to take control of the country.
"Specifically, we urge continued coordination between the Departments of State and Defense to secure and hold Hamid Karzai International Airport, including to allow for the continuation of military flights and the resumption of commercial and charter flights," wrote the senators, who were led by Sens. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, and Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., in a letter that was obtained by Fox News.
"We also urge your administration to assist with the passage of individuals to the airport to safety — both those within Kabul and those outside of the capital — as well as to consider cases where Afghans fleeing quickly may not have been able to collect or gather appropriate documents," it continues.
They also urge Biden to commit to the ''immediate and full implementation'' of a recently passed bill allowing for the urgent removal of any SIV applicants "whose service to the U.S. mission has put their lives in jeopardy."
The senators write, "As you know, this critical program provides safety for the brave Afghans who served alongside United States troops in support of the U.S. missions in Afghanistan.
"As the situation in Afghanistan deteriorates, these individuals face increased danger at the hands of the Taliban that has sworn retribution,'' they continue. ''For this reason, Congress provided additional authorities to improve and expedite the application process while maintaining the program’s security and integrity. We implore your administration to expeditiously implement these changes and immediately evacuate our Afghan allies to safety."
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin noted on Wednesday that the U.S. will continue to make evacuations "until the clock runs out or we run out of capability," but added that America does not "have the capability to go out and collect large numbers of people,'' outside the capital of Kabul.
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