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Ga. could get refugees — and how else Afghan collapse affects us here

Published: Aug. 19, 2021 at 7:16 AM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. - Now that the Taliban have take over Afghanistan, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp appears open to taking in refugees from there who helped the U.S. war effort.

The Republican governor said in a statement Tuesday obtained by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that it was important to keep those who partnered with American armed forces over the last 20 years safe.

He added that Americans could not break their word to those who helped them defend freedom and bring justice to the people who attacked the country on 9/11.

Kemp’s aides told the newspaper that the resettlement process could take years, and his administration will insist on a thorough vetting of individuals that is required under federal law.

Meanwhile, Democratic Georgia Sen. Jon Ossoff said his team remains on call to assist constituents with information and support regarding evacuation procedures and consular services for Americans who remain in Afghanistan and for SIV-eligible Afghan nationals who have worked for and with the U.S. government.

”I continue to urge the Biden Administration to make every effort to protect and evacuate U.S. citizens and SIV-eligible Afghans,” he said in a statement.

“I commend the heroic ongoing efforts of U.S. military personnel supporting the airlift out of Kabul and pray for their safe return. My team is also standing by to connect U.S. service members and veterans with mental health services and other forms of support.”

Any Georgian seeking assistance is encouraged to call 470-786-7800 or visit ossoff.senate.gov.

Any veteran or service member in need of mental health services should immediately reach out to the Veterans Crisis Line 800-273-8255 or visit mentalhealth.va.gov.

Biden said he is committed to keeping U.S. troops in Afghanistan until every American is evacuated, even if that means maintaining a military presence there beyond his Aug. 31 deadline for withdrawal.

He also pushed back against criticism that the U.S. should have done more to plan for the evacuation and withdrawal, which has been marked by scenes of violence and chaos as thousands attempted to flee while the Taliban advanced.

Up to 15,000 Americans remain in Afghanistan after the Taliban took full control of the nation last weekend.

South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, meanwhile, said, “The takeover of Afghanistan by the Taliban is a sad and dangerous event for U.S. national security interests and the world at large. Jihadists all over the world are celebrating this event.”

He called the the decision by President Joe Biden to fully withdraw “a calamity for the people of Afghanistan, a disaster for the American people, and shows a lack of understanding as to the threats that still emanate from the War on Terror.”

He said will be seen as weak in the eyes of enemies and unreliable in the eyes of allies.

Fellow Republican South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott said: “As the entire world watches in dismay at the horrifying images from the streets of Kabul, my heart breaks for our allies and many others who will be targeted by the Taliban. It didn’t have to be this way.”

Rep. Rick Allen, R-Augusta, said: “As the Taliban quickly seized control of Afghanistan following Biden’s botched withdrawal, he has demonstrated that he is a weak commander-in-chief and now the Afghan people face a heartbreaking humanitarian crisis.”

Democratic-led congressional committees are vowing to press Biden’s administration on what went wrong as the Taliban swept to power in Afghanistan and the United States left scores of Americans and thousands who helped them over the years in grave danger.

From reports by WRDW/WAGT and The Associated Press