Statement for the Senate Record by U.S.
Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa
State Department AWOL on Helping Americans,
Allies Stranded in Afghanistan
Thursday, October 28, 2021
Yesterday, in a hearing in the Senate Foreign Relations
Committee, Ranking Member Risch, called out the State Department for its
apparent lack of action in helping those Americans and Afghan allies who are
still stuck in Afghanistan.
It has been two months since the withdrawal of all
American military and diplomatic presence in the country in the wake of the
Talban’s total takeover of that country.
In the past week or so, the number of Americans
reportedly still in the country has grown, not shrunk. We’ve gone from around
100 to over 400.
Now, I know Americans are not flocking to Taliban
controlled Afghanistan, so why does this number keep going up?
I understand that Americans are not required to register
with the State Department so it is understandable that they would not have a
reliable, fixed list of Americans at the start of this crisis. But, I find it
hard to believe that Americans waited two months after being abandoned in
Afghanistan by their government to reach out, and then in the space of a week,
suddenly found a way to get in touch.
The State Department set up special e-mail addresses and
issued guidance on how to report Americans and Afghan allies who need to be
My office heard from many Iowans concerned about those
they knew in Afghanistan, and my staff followed the directions from the State
Department, forwarding the contact information. For the most part, all I ever
heard back was a confirmation that the message was received. I am starting to
wonder if these went into a black hole.
I did not expect that the State Department would devote
time and effort to keeping me informed given that presumably it was all hands
on deck to contact those in the country and make arrangements for them. However,
two months later, I don’t see much progress.
Then there are reports that efforts by brave former Special
Forces and other Americans who picked up where their government left off to
evacuate Americans and Afghan allies have not received the support they needed
from the State Department. Is the State
Department just washing their hands of this mess?
I shared with Senator Risch information I passed on to
the State Department about 98 Afghan allies known to Iowans to need help as
their lives were in danger after the Taliban takeover. I am only aware of one
that has been evacuated. I know that many have not even been contacted by the
I am glad that Ranking Member Risch entered this
information into the Record along with information from 24 other senators,
totaling 16,688 cases. That’s just one quarter of the Senate, so I know there
are many more cases out there.
It’s time to hear what the State Department is doing to
get the remaining Americans home, and to process the cases of Afghan allies so
those who helped us and whose lives are at risk can get to safety.