Ilhan Omar calls US evacuation of Afghans ‘inspiring,’ urges support for refugees

‘The level of evacuation that his administration has been able to undertake is really inspiring and there’s important work that’s getting done,’ the congresswoman says

Nathan Place
New York
Saturday 28 August 2021 17:52
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Ilhan Omar defends Biden’s handling of Afghan evacuations

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Congresswoman Ilhan Omar has praised the Biden administration’s evacuation of US citizens and Afghan allies from Kabul, as the deadline for America’s full withdrawal fast approaches.

On Saturday, MSNBC host Mehdi Hasan asked Ms Omar if the president “surprised” her with his commitment to ending the 20-year war.

“He certainly has,” the congresswoman responded. “The level of evacuation that his administration has been able to undertake is really inspiring and there’s important work that’s getting done.”

The White House said on Saturday that it had evacuated 111,900 people from Afghanistan since the Taliban retook control of Kabul in mid-August. On Friday alone, 6,800 people were airlifted out – in spite of an ISIS-K attack on the city’s airport that killed over 180 people.

Ms Omar, a progressive Democrat who often criticises President Biden, believes in this case he deserves more credit.

“Even after the terrorist attack at Kabul Airport, we continue to airlift and evacuate people,” Ms Omar said. “That is commendable work.”

The Minnesota representative also urged Americans to welcome in as many Afghan refugees as possible in the wake of the crisis, especially those who risked their lives to assist the US military.

“We’ve made promises obviously that we couldn’t keep,” Ms Omar said, “but the one promise we can keep is making sure that we protect everyone that has been made vulnerable because of our mission.”

For Ms Omar, who came to the US as a refugee after fleeing the Somali Civil War, the issue is personal.

“It’s really hard to watch any of these images that we continue to see on our screens without being taken back,” she said. “I was a child in a family that was scattering and searching for refuge.”

The congresswoman credited her survival to her family’s “faith in humanity” and “the welcoming spirit of the American people.”

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