Our hearts are heavy with the terrible events unfolding in Afghanistan. We grieve as we witness the devastating effects of U.S. military intervention, and we continue to urge immediate action to support refugee resettlement and humanitarian relief on the ground.
FCNL is working with other faith groups and humanitarian organizations to uphold human rights, humanitarian protections, and the rights of refugees.
This moment also reaffirms the urgency of our work to end endless wars. Over 71,000 civilians have been killed in the war in Afghanistan, and more than 5.3 million people have been displaced, according to the Costs of War project at Brown University. We must continue to center the human costs of this conflict in our advocacy.
FCNL is working with other faith groups and humanitarian organizations to uphold human rights, humanitarian protections, and the rights of refugees, asylees, asylum seekers, stateless people, and all others who have been forcibly displaced. We recognize our responsibility to mitigate the harms caused both by our 20-year war in Afghanistan and by our military withdrawal.
Here are four ways we’re standing in solidarity with the Afghan people:
Urging a Robust Humanitarian Response
The United States must not stand by as Afghan civilians and allies suffer. FCNL joined hundreds of national, state, and faith-based organizations in calling on the Biden administration to ensure robust protections for vulnerable populations in Afghanistan—including women, girls, LGBTQIA+ people, people with disabilities, and religious and minority groups—while providing clear paths to protection for all Afghans seeking refuge from violence.
Uplifting the Voices of Afghans and Members of the Afghan Diaspora
Afghans for a Better Tomorrow and members of the Afghan diaspora are calling on the United States and its NATO allies to take responsibility for their involvement in this two-decade conflict by ensuring the protection and safety of the airport in Kabul so at-risk Afghans can escape the cruelty of the Taliban’s rule. We supported their recommendation that President Biden announce a bold, open-door Afghan refugee policy, work with NATO to accept every Afghan seeking refuge, and push neighboring countries to take in any Afghans that seek to transit there.
Quakers and faith groups across traditions are called to love thy neighbor, accompany the vulnerable, and welcome the sojourner. At a policy level, we seek expedited visa processing, increased U.S. refugee resettlement numbers, and a halt to deportations of Afghan nationals. At the community level, we stand ready to welcome all Afghans in need of refuge. We made these commitments official in a letter to President Biden signed by multiple faith leaders and organizations.
Holding Congress Accountable
FCNL is leveraging its relationships on Capitol Hill to demonstrate that there is strong support from the American public to respond to urgent humanitarian needs in Afghanistan and to welcome vulnerable Afghans to our shores. We endorsed a letter from Members of Congress urging President Biden to accept at least 200,000 refugees in the coming fiscal year – far above this year’s ceiling of 62,500.