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Washington, D.C. – Following reports that Taliban forces have entered Kabul, U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) sent a letter to U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) Secretary Lloyd Austin, urging him to keep U.S. troops in the city and ensure the safe evacuation of Afghans facing Taliban violence.

“Now that the Taliban has entered Kabul and has taken control of the government, our allies and defenders of democracy in Afghanistan are in grave danger, particularly women’s rights activists and leaders. This is not the time for the usual Washington finger pointing and pontificating; our immediate priority must be to safely evacuate the Americans, women leaders, activists and human rights defenders who are being targeted by the Taliban. Once we have secured a safe evacuation for as many of our allies as possible, Congress should conduct a full review of mistakes made in Afghanistan over the course of 20 years,” said Senator Casey.

In his letter, Senator Casey called on the Department of Defense to ensure the continued presence of U.S. security forces at Hamid Karzai International Airport to allow Afghans to safely board planes and evacuate. He asked that U.S. troops coordinate with other forces in the region to secure the airport in order to facilitate evacuation plans organized by humanitarian groups.

Read the letter to Defense Secretary Austin here.