Christian groups around the world are asking President Joe Biden to safely complete the evacuation of all American citizens and Afghan allies, even if that means working into September.
Biden has previously said he will keep to an Aug. 31 deadline for the evacuation of American citizens from Afghanistan. This week, Biden said in a press conference that the U.S. is “currently on a pace to finish” the evacuation, but he also added that the U.S. needs continued cooperation with the Taliban.
He said there could be “real and significant challenges that we also have to take into consideration the longer we stay.”
In a statement released this week, Chris Palusky, president and CEO of Bethany Christian Services, criticized Biden for holding to an “arbitrary deadline,” saying that “tens of thousands of people who served and sacrificed for the U.S. mission in Afghanistan are at a grave risk of danger.”
He added that Bethany Christian Services has helped to resettle 250 Afghan allies and refugees in the U.S.
According to The Christian Post, an official with the group Church World Service also said in a statement that if Biden keeps to the Aug. 31 deadline, it will “cost countless lives.”
He said the government has a “moral obligation to create a safe pathway out of Afghanistan for all those in danger to U.S. territory – as long as it takes to get the job done.”
Krish O’Mara Vignarajah, president and CEO of Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, called the evacuation job “half-done.”
“President Biden must continue the evacuation until all U.S. citizens, Afghan allies, and other extremely vulnerable Afghan are (safe),” he said. “We swore a sacred oath to protect them – we cannot break it in the eleventh hour.”
Many have also criticized Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin after he said last week that the U.S. would evacuate Americans “as long as we possibly can until the clock runs out or we run out of capability.”
State Department Spokesman Ned Price said this week on Twitter that the state department has made more than 4,000 personalized calls over the last four days to Americans who have expressed interest in leaving Afghanistan.
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Amanda Casanova is a writer living in Dallas, Texas. She has covered news for ChristianHeadlines.com since 2014. She has also contributed to The Houston Chronicle, U.S. News and World Report and IBelieve.com. She blogs at The Migraine Runner.