Afghanistan Evacuation Assistance
My office is able to contact the Department of State for Afghanistan-related cases that involve U.S. Citizens, Legal Permanent Residents, SIVs, and those with pending immigrant visas. Virginians seeking assistance from Senator Kaine’s office for themselves or others are encouraged to read this guidance from the Department of State before filling out the form below.Those seeking assistance for Afghans who do not fit the above categories should read the below information from the Department of State regarding what options are available:
- U.S. Refugee Admissions Program: Afghans eligible for and referred to the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP) must be outside of Afghanistan in a third country for their cases to be processed. For more information on the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program, please visit https://www.state.gov/u-s-refugee-admissions-program-priority-2-designation-for-afghan-nationals/
- Asylum/Humanitarian Assistance: Afghans with safety concerns may contact the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) protection office, which can be reached via their Protection Hotline numbers or email address: 0790691746 and 0704996168 (available on all working days), and firstname.lastname@example.org. UNHCR’s website provides information on asylum procedures abroad: https://help.unhcr.org/.
Excerpt of Remarks on Afghanistan by U.S. Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken on August 30th, 2021:
As of today, we have suspended our diplomatic presence in Kabul, and transferred our operations to Doha, Qatar, which will soon be formally notified to Congress. Given the uncertain security environment and political situation in Afghanistan, it was the prudent step to take. And let me take this opportunity to thank our outstanding charge d’affaires in Kabul, Ambassador Ross Wilson, who came out of retirement in January 2020 to lead our embassy in Afghanistan, and has done exceptional, courageous work during a highly challenging time.
For the time being, we will use this post in Doha to manage our diplomacy with Afghanistan, including consular affairs, administering humanitarian assistance, and working with allies, partners, and regional and international stakeholders to coordinate our engagement and messaging to the Taliban. Our team there will be led by Ian McCary, who has served as our deputy chief of mission in Afghanistan for this past year. No one’s better prepared to do the job.
Second, we will continue our relentless efforts to help Americans, foreign nationals, and Afghans leave Afghanistan if they choose.
Let me talk briefly about the Americans who remain in Afghanistan.
We made extraordinary efforts to give Americans every opportunity to depart the country – in many cases talking, and sometimes walking them into the airport.
Of those who self-identified as Americans in Afghanistan, who were considering leaving the country, we’ve thus far received confirmation that about 6,000 have been evacuated or otherwise departed. This number will likely continue to grow as our outreach and arrivals continue.
We believe there are still a small number of Americans – under 200 and likely closer to 100 – who remain in Afghanistan and want to leave. We’re trying to determine exactly how many. We’re going through manifests and calling and texting through our lists, and we’ll have more details to share, as soon as possible. Part of the challenge with fixing a precise number is that there are long-time residents of Afghanistan who have American passports, and who were trying to determine whether or not they wanted to leave. Many are dual-citizen Americans with deep roots and extended families in Afghanistan, who have resided there for many years. For many, it’s a painful choice.
Our commitment to them and to all Americans in Afghanistan – and everywhere in the world – continues. The protection and welfare of Americans abroad remains the State Department’s most vital and enduring mission. If an American in Afghanistan tells us that they want to stay for now, and then in a week or a month or a year they reach out and say, “I’ve changed my mind,” we will help them leave.
Additionally, we’ve worked intensely to evacuate and relocate Afghans who worked alongside us, and are at particular risk of reprisal. We’ve gotten many out, but many are still there. We will keep working to help them. Our commitment to them has no deadline.
Third, we will hold the Taliban to its pledge to let people freely depart Afghanistan.
The Taliban has committed to let anyone with proper documents leave the country in a safe and orderly manner. They’ve said this privately and publicly many times. On Friday, a senior Taliban official said it again on television and radio, and I quote: “Any Afghans may leave the country, including those who work for Americans, if they want and for whatever reason there may be,” end quote.
More than half the world’s countries have joined us in insisting that the Taliban let people travel outside Afghanistan freely. As of today, more than 100 countries have said that they expect the Taliban to honor travel authorizations by our countries. And just a few hours ago, the United Nations Security Council passed a resolution that enshrines that responsibility – laying the groundwork to hold the Taliban accountable if they renege.
So, the international chorus on this is strong, and it will stay strong. We will hold the Taliban to their commitment on freedom of movement for foreign nationals, visa holders, at-risk Afghans.
Fourth, we will work to secure their safe passage.
This morning, I met with the foreign ministers of all the G7 countries – United Kingdom, France, Germany, Canada, Italy, Japan – as well as Qatar, Turkey, the European Union, and the secretary general of NATO. We discussed how we will work together to facilitate safe travel out of Afghanistan, including by reopening Kabul’s civilian airport as soon as possible – and we very much appreciate the efforts of Qatar and Turkey, in particular, to make this happen.
This would enable a small number of daily charter flights, which is a key for anyone who wants to depart from Afghanistan moving forward.
We are also working to identify ways to support Americans, legal permanent residents, and Afghans who have worked with us and who may choose to depart via overland routes.
We have no illusion that any of this will be easy or rapid. This will be an entirely different phase from the evacuation that just concluded. It will take time to work through a new set of challenges. But we will stay at it.
John Bass – our former ambassador to Afghanistan who returned to Kabul two weeks ago to help lead our evacuation efforts at the airport – will spearhead our ongoing work across the State Department to help American citizens and permanent residents, citizens of allied nations, Special Immigrant Visa applicants, and Afghans at high risk, if any of those people wish to depart Afghanistan. We’re deeply grateful for all that John did in Kabul, and for his continued commitment to this mission, as well as the extraordinary consular officers who were serving by his side.
Fifth, we will stay focused on counterterrorism.
The Taliban has made a commitment to prevent terrorist groups from using Afghanistan as a base for external operations that could threaten the United States or our allies, including al-Qaida and the Taliban’s sworn enemy, ISIS-K. Here too, we will hold them accountable to that commitment. But while we have expectations of the Taliban, that doesn’t mean we will rely on the Taliban. We’ll remain vigilant in monitoring threats ourselves. And we’ll maintain robust counterterrorism capabilities in the region to neutralize those threats, if necessary, as we demonstrated in the past few days by striking ISIS facilitators and imminent threats in Afghanistan – and as we do in places around the world where we do not have military forces on the ground.
Let me speak directly to our engagement with the Taliban across these and other issues. We engaged with the Taliban during the past few weeks to enable our evacuation operations. Going forward, any engagement with a Taliban-led government in Kabul will be driven by one thing only: our vital national interests.
If we can work with a new Afghan government in a way that helps secure those interests – including the safe return of Mark Frerichs, a U.S. citizen who has been held hostage in the region since early last year – and in a way that brings greater stability to the country and region and protects the gains of the past two decades, we will do it. But we will not do it on the basis of trust or faith. Every step we take will be based not on what a Taliban-led government says, but what it does to live up to its commitments.
The Taliban seeks international legitimacy and support. Our message is: any legitimacy and any support will have to be earned.
The Taliban can do that by meeting commitments and obligations – on freedom of travel; respecting the basic rights of the Afghan people, including women and minorities; upholding its commitments on counterterrorism; not carrying out reprisal violence against those who choose to stay in Afghanistan; and forming an inclusive government that can meet the needs and reflect the aspirations of the Afghan people.
Sixth, we will continue our humanitarian assistance to the people of Afghanistan.
The conflict has taken a terrible toll on the Afghan people. Millions are internally displaced. Millions are facing hunger, even starvation. The COVID-19 pandemic has also hit Afghanistan hard. The United States will continue to support humanitarian aid to the Afghan people. Consistent with our sanctions on the Taliban, the aid will not flow through the government, but rather through independent organizations, such as UN agencies and NGOs. And we expect that those efforts will not be impeded by the Taliban or anyone else.
And seventh, we will continue our broad international diplomacy across all these issues and many others.
We believe we can accomplish far more – and exert far greater leverage – when we work in coordination with our allies and partners. Over the last two weeks, we’ve had a series of intensive diplomatic engagements with allies and partners to plan and coordinate the way ahead in Afghanistan. I’ve met with the foreign ministers of NATO and the G7. I’ve spoken one-on-one with dozens of my counterparts. Last week, President Biden met with the leaders of the G7 countries. And Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman has been convening a group of 28 allies and partners from all regions of the world every other day.
Going forward, we’ll coordinate closely with countries in the region and around the world – as well as with leading international organizations, NGOs, and the private sector. Our allies and partners share our objectives and are committed to working with us.”