We are grieving at the humanitarian crisis unfolding in Afghanistan. We urge the United States and the international community to work with the United Nations to support those calling for an end to violence, and to protect those at risk including Afghan human rights defenders, people who worked alongside the United States, and women leaders, by unequivocally accepting Afghan refugees whose lives are in peril.
As Quakers, we oppose the violence and chaos created by war and its aftermath. We hold the people of Afghanistan in the Light in the days and months ahead.
War is never the answer. From invasion to withdrawal, for 20 years the U.S. government has declined to use the full extent of its diplomatic and humanitarian tools to mitigate harm, to pursue inclusive political solutions, and to address urgent human needs. By prioritizing militarism over diplomacy and consistently heeding calls for more force over calls for more peacebuilding, the United States has exacerbated a humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan.
Make no mistake: President Biden was right to withdraw U.S. troops from Afghanistan and should go further by ceasing all military engagement in the country, including air strikes.
We call for the U.S. government to immediately welcome Afghans who are fleeing the country. We also call on our government to do what it should have done a long time ago by recognizing that the United States cannot dictate Afghanistan’s future, by being honest about the harms it has caused, and by using any remaining diplomatic leverage it may have to support multilateral violence-reduction efforts.
More broadly, it is far past time for the United States to acknowledge that peace and real security can never be achieved through military force, and to therefore abandon the failed endless war paradigm completely.