Meijer calls for “mass evacuation” of Afghans who have supported US troops
GRAND RAPIDS, Michigan – US MP Peter Meijer (R-Grand Rapids) is “glad” US forces are leaving Afghanistan but remains concerned for the safety of Afghans who have served alongside American soldiers and are now are imminent as the Taliban gain ground.
“I supported the withdrawal when President Trump announced it towards the end of his term in office. And I strongly supported it when President Biden announced that he would continue this policy, ”says Meijer.
Meijer spoke to FOX 17 days after President Joe Biden announced plans to withdraw all US troops from Afghanistan by the end of August to end the country’s longest war before the original 9/11 deadline.
“This was never a conflict that would end positively through our military engagement. This is essentially a political dispute, it is raised through a violent lens of conflict, but at its core it is political and must find a negotiated political solution. This is the only way we can solve the conflict in Afghanistan, ”said Meijer.
Meijer, a US Army and Iraq war veteran, also urges the Biden administration to speed up not only the withdrawal of troops but also the evacuation of Afghans who helped the US military and are now in danger. The Taliban now claim to control 85% of Afghan territory and are targeting US Afghan allies.
“These were Afghans on patrol, some of which returned fire and saved the lives of American soldiers. Some of them were shot and injured while serving as interpreters. Many of them now have a target on their back because they either helped us with the intelligence service or served as translators for interrogations, ”explains Meijer
The State Department says evacuation is a priority. “Those who have helped us will not be left behind,” said President Joe Biden, but more than 10,000 are still pending VISA approval to enter the United States. Further plans are not yet known.
“The Biden government must mobilize a mass evacuation,” said Meijer. “We have to take these people to either US territory like Guam or a third country for processing, and we have to start immediately.”
“Many of these people are still being attacked or killed. And as things get more complex and the security situation continues to deteriorate, if we are able to get these people out of the refugee camps in Pakistan or Iran, we must shame us. We now have the opportunity to do so. There is no reason why we should hesitate and drag our feet because of bureaucratic hurdles, ”added Meijer
The end of the United States’ 20-year engagement in Afghanistan also puts in perspective the AUMFs, or the authorization to use military force, which has deployed troops in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere around the world without a Congressional debate.
“[The 2001 AUMF] in is almost 20 years old, originally intended for Al-Qaeda and related forces and used to fight conflict in 19 countries on three continents, ”Meijer said. “It was used against units that did not exist on September 11th, it was used against units that were fighting against al-Qaeda. It has been stretched beyond any understanding, ”explained Meijer.
The repeal of obsolete AUMFs was a top legislative priority for Meijer.
Meijer hopes their repeal will help hold lawmakers accountable before Americans are sent into battle.
“What I consider strongly is the first step towards Congress regaining that authority and, frankly, taking back its responsibilities and not just delegating it, washing our hands and saying, you know, we’d rather fundraise and sending cable messages “than having to ask the tough questions and then having to cast a vote that puts the men and women of American soldiers at risk.”