As the United States pursues a peace deal with the Taliban and plans to withdraw forces from Afghanistan, one important consideration is notably missing from the deliberations: What will happen to our Afghan partners who served the U.S. mission after we leave?
When I was the U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan, our embassy in Kabul relied on hundreds of Afghan staffers working in myriad roles. They risked their lives every day to work for the betterment of their country and ours. Likewise, U.S. forces and humanitarian workers relied on local staff who served as linguists, cultural advisers, security guards and maintenance staff. Because of their service to the U.S. mission, these trusted allies regularly faced and continue to face threats from anti-American forces, particularly by the Taliban, who have hunted and executed many Afghan partners and their families.
These Afghan partners have the opportunity to apply for special immigrant visas (SIVs), which were specifically designed to protect our allies on the ground. Most who do so wait for the processing of their visas from within Afghanistan, remaining in dangerous conditions, while others have fled for their lives to neighboring countries and are waiting in exile...
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Ambassador Crocker served as U.S. Ambassador to Lebanon from 1990-1993; Kuwait from 1994-1997; Syria from 1998-2001; Iraq from 2007-2009; and Afghanistan from 2011-2012.