August 19, 2021
For decades, the Central Conference of American Rabbis has decried human rights abuses in Afghanistan—refugees left homeless by years of civil war predating American intervention, subjugation of women, civilian massacres, and religious persecution, among other atrocities wrought by the Taliban terrorist regime which has now returned to power. Tragically, twenty years of U.S. military intervention, sacrificing Afghan and American lives and trillions of dollars, failed to establish a stable Afghan government or rid Afghanistan of the Taliban and its repressive ways. In the wake of the U.S. military withdrawal, freedom-seeking Afghans are terrorized, their lives very much at risk.
Reform rabbis applaud the United Nations Security Council, which this week called for “an immediate cessation of all hostilities and the establishment, through inclusive negotiations, of a new government that is united, inclusive and representative—including with the full, equal and meaningful participation of women. [The Security Council] underlined that … the safety and security of all Afghan and international citizens must be ensured.”[i]
The Biden administration has—rightly, and of necessity—deployed troops to secure Hamid Karzai International Airport to ensure the evacuation of both American personnel and Afghans who aided the efforts of the United States and its allies during the twenty-year struggle. The United States has a moral obligation to Afghan citizens who are in danger after having stood up to terror and human rights abuses alongside the U.S. and its allies; the U.S. must not abandon this mission until every person who can be rescued has been safely evacuated from Afghanistan.
Recalling the Reform Jewish community’s legendary support for the Vietnamese boat people, Reform rabbis demand that the Biden administration and Congress expedite legal immigration status for Afghans who are now at risk. We urge CCAR members and the communities we serve to join in the humanitarian effort that will be necessary when these refugees reach safe haven in the United States, Canada, and other allied nations.
Rabbi Lewis Kamrass
Rabbi Hara E. Person
Central Conference of American Rabbis
[i] UN Security Council Press Statement on Afghanistan, August 16, 2021, https://usun.usmission.gov/un-security-council-press-statement-on-afghanistan/.