C-130H taxis through the fog upon arrival at Eglin Air Force Base (U.S. Air Force photo/Samuel King Jr.)

State employees: "Do everything possible"

Over a week ago, the State Department evacuated the U.S. Embassy compound in Kabul, but it has since surged its presence in the evacuation of Americans and allies from Afghanistan—and now the agency’s leading employee organization is loudly sounding support and determination regarding this new mission. 

 “Now is the time to support our colleagues and the servicemembers who remain behind in Afghanistan or are in the process of returning to protect and assist with evacuation efforts,” Eric Rubin, the president of the American Foreign Service Association (AFSA), stated. “We hope and pray that many of the Afghan citizens who assisted us and the multilateral coalition in our efforts will be able to reach safe-haven and begin their lives anew.” 

“We recognize and deeply regret that some will almost certainly be left behind,” Rubin continued. “We urge the U.S and allied governments to do everything possible to help those who wish to leave, and to insist on the safety of all those who remain.”

“We urge our government to continue to move quickly to bring as many Afghans to safety as is humanly possible, and to admit as many as possible to the United States as refugees or parolees,” the AFSA president said. 

Thousands of U.S. forces and feds—including civilian State, DOD and other agencies—with continuing support from contracted Afghan translators and the now-deposed government’s armed forces helping secure the airport, have processed several tens of thousands of evacuees out of the country via Hamid Karzai Airport. The operation continues and will continue, according to the White House, as long as is necessary. Although for now an Aug. 31 deadline remains in place, the administration is reportedly discussing an extension. 

The AFSA president also spoke to the disappointment in the latest turn of events in Afghanistan, after two decades of major U.S. involvement in warfighting against insurgents and in civilian development projects, and to the deep mourning feds at State feel at this time for their colleagues who were injured or killed over this long period. 

“The fall of Kabul was a painful and wrenching day for all of us, especially for our Foreign Service colleagues, members of other U.S. government agencies, non-governmental organizations and members of the U.S. and allied militaries who served their country under difficult and at times perilous circumstances in the two-decade long war in Afghanistan,” Rubin said. “We lost treasured Foreign Service and Foreign Service National colleagues and remember with deep respect and appreciation the several thousand U.S. servicemembers who lost their lives and many more who came home grievously injured, physically and emotionally.”

2021 Digital Almanac

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