GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — North Carolina Sen. Thom Tillis says his office is helping in the Afghanistan evacuation efforts, calling the Biden Administration’s response poorly planned and poorly executed.
The United States has until August 31 to evacuate thousands of Afghans and Americans, but the Pentagon says it will continue the process until operations are over. Tillis calls what’s happening in Afghanistan a “humanitarian crisis” and criticized the Biden Administration on the evacuation deadline between the US and the Taliban.
Tillis spoke to the feelings of veterans and Gold Star families, especially to those who feel discouraged after seeing crowds of Afghans and Americans at the Kabul airport. Tillis said veteran lives weren’t lost in vain because many Afghans have benefitted from the freedom American troops and allies have provided.
As Afghanistan falls to the Taliban, the Senator said he’s going to seek accountability for what has unfolded over the past few weeks, but a more immediate concern his office is dealing with is that August 31 deadline.
“We still have a very long record of people we think are going to be stranded. So, we’re gonna look at other opportunities, looking at other nations that are still there,” Tillis said.
Tillis also said he’s working with government organizations to cut the red tape for people still in Afghanistan, but what’s next might be a refugee crisis.
Afghan refugees have begun arriving in the U.S. at airports in the DC area, Texas and Washington. Many are concerned about what this could mean for national security or how the U.S. will address this humanitarian crisis as people will have to restart their lives.
Tillis addressed these concerns about the evacuees landing in the US or other countries, saying they deserve their full effort to deliver these people to safety.
“The people that we’re sending forth, for moving into this country, or a third country, are people who have basically served in our military,” says Tillis.
For now, his office is processing credentials and materials to get people out of Afghanistan, and invites people to contact his office if they know anyone who needs help leaving Afghanistan.
9OYS Digital Reporter Victoria Holmes spoke with Senator Thom Tillis. Hear more from their conversation below.
Below are resources available for veterans who may need assistance during this time.
- Veterans Crisis Line: If you are having thoughts of suicide, call 1-800-273-8255, then PRESS 1 or visit http://www.veteranscrisisline.net/
- For emergency mental health care: call your local VA medical center
- Vet Centers: Discuss how you feel with other Veterans in these community-based counseling centers. 70% of Vet Center staff are Veterans. Call 1-877-927-8387 or find one near you.
- VA Mental Health Services Guide
- MakeTheConnection.net: information, resources, and Veteran to Veteran videos for challenging life events and experiences with mental health issues.
- RallyPoint: Talk to other Veterans online. What are your feelings as the Taliban reclaim Afghanistan after 20 years of US involvement?
- VA’s self-help apps: Tools to help deal with common reactions like, stress, sadness, and anxiety. You can also track your symptoms over time.
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