GOP lawmaker says 'blood will be on his hands' if Biden doesn't evacuate Afghan interpreters

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House lawmakers are pressuring the Biden administration to formulate a plan to evacuate Afghan interpreters who helped U.S. forces preparing to leave the war-torn country.

Rep. Michael Waltz, a Florida Republican and former Green Beret, said during a press conference on Wednesday that President Joe Biden will put lives at risk without a plan.

SENATOR WHO VOTES WITH DEMOCRATS WANTS BIDEN'S 'HAIR ON FIRE' TO GET INTERPRETERS OUT OF AFGHANISTAN

"If he doesn't act, he doesn't get these people out, blood will be on his hands and on his administration's hands. And I for one, will very publicly and very loudly, hold him accountable," Waltz said.

Waltz touched on the dangers of remaining in Afghanistan by sharing the story of how an interpreter's brother who got out of the country was ambushed and shot last week.

"His brother never worked with us," Waltz said. "It's not just their lives. It's their family's lives. And those are the allies that we need."

Waltz was joined by Rep. Jason Crow, a Democrat from Colorado, and members of the American Legion who share his perspective on withdrawing the interpreters.

Crow, a former Army paratrooper who served three combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, said lawmakers are coordinating with officials from the U.S. territory of Guam who have expressed an openness to bringing in interpreters.

"I think the most practical thing is to evacuate pending applicants to Guam," Crow said. "We have a history of doing it. We don't have to reinvent that wheel. We know how to do it. We've been in close coordination with the representative from Guam and the governor of Guam ... They are willing to step up. And they will make it happen, and they support it."

Crow said he would help introduce a series of bills on Thursday that would increase the cap on Special Immigrant Visas to expedite the process of getting Afghan interpreters out.

The Democratic lawmaker said there's been "very good" engagement and communication with members of the administration and the State Department, but they are pushing for a quick decision by the White House.

"Time is the most important thing here, and we don't have it," Crow said. "We can take these folks, we can get them out of the country and into Guam, and then we can take the time that we need to make sure that this is done the right way. But we don't have the time if they are remained in Afghanistan. That is the crux of the issue."

There are roughly 18,000 special visa applications from Afghan citizens that need to be processed. It reportedly takes about 900 days to process applications, which means it's unlikely to get all of them processed before U.S. forces are out of the area.

The Biden administration is on track to get all military troops out of Afghanistan by Sept. 11, which will mark the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks in 2001. Crow said the withdrawal is already about 50% complete.

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Republicans are split on Biden's plan to withdraw troops from Afghanistan. Waltz said it will weaken U.S. counterterrorism efforts, but he added that getting Afghan interpreters out as soon as possible is one area there is broad agreement in Congress.

"I think there's plenty of people who support it," Waltz told the Washington Examiner. "I don't know that they see it as the priority that some of us do, but I do think it has wide bipartisan support."

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Tags: News, Congress, Afghanistan, Joe Biden, house

Original Author: Mica Soellner

Original Location: GOP lawmaker says 'blood will be on his hands' if Biden doesn't evacuate Afghan interpreters

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