Let the Afghan People Come

Joe Biden doesn’t have to feel bad about bringing the troops home if he lets the persecuted come here.


President Joe Biden appears ready to ignore the May 1 deadline the Trump administration negotiated for withdrawing from Afghanistan. Why would Biden, who as vice president promised a total withdrawal by 2014, want to extend America's longest war?

One thing is for sure: It isn't because staying several months past the deadline will change conditions on the ground in America's favor. The fundamentals of the war have remained unchanged since nearly the beginning. The Taliban insurgency can and will outlast the U.S. occupation and the U.S.-backed regime in Kabul is too corrupt and weak to establish itself as a sovereign. 

The Biden administration's procrastination seems motivated by two fears that, unfortunately, America can do little about. First, U.S. withdrawal could trigger intensified violence and risk the collapse of the Kabul government and its replacement by the Taliban. Second, Afghan civilians may be at increased risk of human rights abuses once the U.S. leaves.

Helpfully, there is little immediate security threat to the United States from a Taliban-ruled Afghanistan. The group itself has no ambitions beyond Afghanistan's borders and the notion of a terrorist safe haven is a myth resting on a misunderstanding of the operational utility of such territorial havens in carrying out international acts of violence. 


The fact that we have failed to defeat the Taliban or to effectively establish a new government after almost 20 years of trying strongly suggests it is an unachievable mission and, far from a reason to stay longer, is in fact a compelling reason to leave as soon as possible.

The fate of the Afghan people is compelling too. Unfortunately, policymakers have to come to grips with the fact they don't have many policy tools to effectively manipulate the treatment of Afghans in Afghanistan. Human rights protections have improved for many Afghans during the U.S. occupation, including respect for women's rights. But even after nearly two decades of efforts on the ground, the United Nations still ranks Afghanistan 153rd out of 160 countries for gender equality. In a 2017 index, Afghanistan tied with Syria for the worst place in the world to be a woman.

If U.S. policymakers are serious about adopting policies that can protect Afghans under threat, they should welcome Afghans to American shores. The first step is to restart the refugee program that was effectively cancelled by President Donald Trump. Biden said he wants to welcome 125,000 refugees, but he hasn't taken the first step—authorizing an additional 62,500 this year—even though the presidential determination is sitting on his desk waiting for his signature. Biden could permit entry to 40,000 Afghans a year if he wanted to.

A second step would be to allow Americans to privately sponsor refugees at their own expense. Such a program could be modeled on America's experience with private sponsorship for Jews fleeing the Soviet Union at the end of the Cold War and on how Canada runs its very successful system today. The Biden administration could start the pilot program and enlist veteran groups who have been at the forefront of arguing for their Afghan comrades to find refuge in America.

That leads us to the Special Immigration Visa (SIV) program for Afghans who were employed by or on behalf of the U.S. government. These folks risked their lives to help American forces and the Taliban will show them no mercy if it takes over. But the SIV is mired in bureaucracy, preventing many deserving applicants from coming here. Biden should give the SIV program a kick in the pants to immediately welcome the roughly 17,000 Afghan employees of the U.S. and their roughly 50,000 family members.

The U.S. could also help European and Asian countries settle Afghan refugees within their borders. Many Afghan refugees want to go to Europe where their family members are living and nothing is stopping the Biden administration from working with the Europeans to facilitate such a humanitarian migration. 

Unfortunately, the government probably won't organize itself in time to help Afghans in these ways. The last, desperate option that the Biden administration will have to consider is paroling Afghan refugees into the United States. Under presidential authority, Biden could fly refugees directly from Afghanistan or surrounding countries to the island of Guam and process them there for entry to the U.S. They could immediately start working and building new lives for themselves.

This is what the United States did for many Kurds during the 1990s after the U.S. government asked them to rebel against Saddam Hussein's government in Iraq and then abandoned them to be slaughtered by the Iraqi government.

Biden's parole authority is the same that President Gerald Ford had when he decided to process about 111,000 Vietnamese refugees fleeing the Communist takeover of South Vietnam in 1975. At the time, a young senator named Joe Biden said, "The United States has no obligation to evacuate one, or 100,001, South Vietnamese." The success of the Vietnamese in the United States should have changed Biden's mind in the intervening decades.

Simply put, the United States has lost the war in Afghanistan. By pushing past the May 1 withdrawal date, Biden is merely delaying the inevitable. Afghanistan and its people are unlikely to be much better off by maintaining a small military presence there for a few months longer. Offering refuge to Afghans fleeing abuse would be a constructive human rights policy. Extending a lost war won't be.

NEXT: Why Hasn't the Mainstream Media Pilloried 60 Minutes for Spreading Misinformation?

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  1. Offering refuge to Afghans fleeing abuse would be a constructive human rights policy.

    Why stop at Afghans? There are hundreds of millions of people suffering all over the world from every imaginable abuse known to man. Let them all in. Like, yesterday.

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    1. For sure! I mean, who really gives a fuck about the people who already live here? Surely, not the Enlightened™!

      1. Also, we stopped the Syrian and Iraqi Christians trying to cross the border from Mexico. Of course, they were not trying to flee poverty, just religious execution.

    2. Sure why not? They could only be an improvement over the inbred white trash that populates half of the country.

      1. Pay attention to me people! I’m trolling you!!
        Aren’t I shocking?!

    3. Migration is humanity’s oldest and most effective answer to poverty and oppression.

      1. The Mongols would agree with you. Their subjects? Not so much.

        1. The Mongols’ biggest conquest was China, and within a generation or so, the invaders had completely sinified, ie taken up Chinese customs, habits and life ways.

          1. The Mongols had an empire that stretched from China to Eastern Europe. How convenient of you to ignore the remaining 90% of their conquests …. in service of the narrative. But, hey, if the Mongols don’t work for you, try the Huns. Or, shit, if you are feeling particularly xenophobic, the Macedonian migrations into Asia following Alexander the Great.

            The notion that unbridled mass migration is an unmitigated benefit is a ton of bullshit. How libertarians came to embrace such a ludicrous notion is beyond me.

            1. Migration is humanity’s oldest and most effective answer to poverty and oppression. America herself owes her existence to migration, mostly from Europe.

              1. Worked out real well for the people already here, eh?

                1. Had they migrated, things might have worked out better for them.

                  1. Well, I must say, when you decide to hunker down on something stupid, you go full barnacle.

                  2. Oh shit, I bet mtrueman sprained something typing that.

                  3. Is this guy saying what I think he’s saying?

                    1. Thanks to migration, humans live and work on every continent of the globe. It’s part of being human, probably something to do with the decision many moons ago to come down from the trees and go bipedal.

                      (Bipedal means walking on two legs, Nothing to do with bisexuality or pedophilia.)

                    2. Thanks mtrueman for TRYING to educate the rubes! It is a thankless, near-impossible task!

                      Be sure to keep your identity concealed! These thugs would kill truth-speakers if they knew that they could get away with it! It is written into the troglodyte (hunter-gatherer) brain, to kill the honest messengers!

                      I kid you not! See this for details:

      2. Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears;
        I come to praise the Allemanis huddling to be free of
        the scarier Allemani huddling behind them.
        The ignoble hath told you the Alemani are violent and crazy
        but the Allemani are here to do the jobs that even a Roman slave
        would not do, cheaper too,
        They are here to pay more taxes than a citizen pays .
        And ponder the delicious saurkraut wagons they are sure to bring.

        Let us put aside our Imperialism of literacy,
        mathamatics, engineering, civics and hygeine
        to make our pasty blond brethren feel welcomed.
        What could go wrong?

        – Maximus Gluteous Libertarianus 395 ad (extinct 476 ad).

    4. American soil makes people magically immune to abusing others or being abused!

    5. “Invite Them All”

      Another America Last moment at Reason.

      Reason has yet to explain how importing people *much less* libertarian than Americans makes the US *more* libertarian.

      Or is that the *goal*?

  2. Wow, really? We can only end foreign wars if we bring all the foreigners and their wars here?

  3. A second step would be to allow Americans to privately sponsor refugees at their own expense.

    Shouldn’t that be the first and only step?

    The commies at Cato must be desperate to propose it at all.

    1. ^this

      I thought this was a Libertarian site.

  4. Afghans. Just wonderful people. Their favorite “sports” are dog fighting, cock fighting, and a form of “Polo” with a dead goat being the ball, and horse whips used to beat each other while fighting over the “prize”.
    Their leaders are just as morally corrupt as Cuomo, but when they desire sex it is not with young, female staffers, it is with their even younger, male “Chai boys” or “dancing boys” that every rich, powerful Afghan male keeps nearby for pleasure. I wish that I were making a joke.
    2/3rds of the world’s poppies are grown and processed into heroin in Afghanistan. They love drugs more than any Hippy at Woodstock. If you have ever been to Afghanistan, you would understand why.
    The police are not police at all. They are drug addled enforcers that do the bidding of the local warlords. They take whatever they want and make people disappear. Afghans are lawless and tribal. We are full up on that in the US.
    Why? Why the hell would anyone want an influx of Afghans? Their only contributions to the world are heroin and outrageous levels of pedophilia.

    1. You make Afghans sound like natural libertarians.

    2. “Their only contributions to the world are heroin and outrageous levels of pedophilia.”

      The Afghan is a fine hound. And you underestimate heroin. It is the most effective analgesic, a true boon of mother nature.

      1. good blankets too.

        1. The carpets and rugs are famous. And perhaps the toughest soldiers in the world.

          A carpet, by the way, looks different when you flip it over. A rug looks the same.

          1. Toughest soldiers in the world? Oh brother. Try working with them. Try fighting with them. The only reason that they “win” wars is that every foreign soldier that has ever fought in Afghanistan quickly realizes that there is nothing worth “winning” in Afghanistan. The Afghans fight each other more often than they fight outsiders.
            The Russians were slaughtering them until the meddling US CIA started delivering portable anti-aircraft rockets. Otherwise, most Afghans would cease to exist in the early 80s. The Russians returned the favor.
            The US could have slaughtered them easily too, but Obama and Biden stopped fighting and started allowing their friends to build billions of dollars worth of infrastructure so their friends and the corrupt ex-Generals could become billionaires through ill spent US tax dollars.

            1. The US troops allied with quislings and the thugs of North Alliance warlords. the same bunch that allied with the Soviets. They are not the best Afghanistan has to offer. Besides the US idea of toughness is suspect. The other day, one of the commenters here was boasting of his experience, not of fighting against a determined enemy, but of standing in formation with their hands behind their backs. Deeply untough as any Taliban would tell you.

              1. They wipe their asses with their hands. They fuck boys. I could give too shits at how tough they think they are. That country is the anus of the earth, Afghans are it’s dingle berries.

                1. “They wipe their asses with their hands.”

                  That’s customary in India, as well. They usually reserve that for the left hand. If you have access to soap and water it can be more hygienic than overly squeamish and prissy American style practices.

                  1. Poi-sonally, I prefer distance between my hand and fecal matter, regardless of dexterity. Nothing sissy about not liking e coli;and it’s attendant pathologies.

                    By the way, is SQRLSY a friend of yours?

                    1. Have you actually tried to wash yourself India (Afghan) style? You’ll notice the difference between being truly clean down there and merely wiping and smearing shit with ever so soft paper.

        2. Yes, I bought a few. For my dogs.

  5. First, U.S. withdrawal could trigger intensified violence and risk the collapse of the Kabul government and its replacement by the Taliban.

    They’ve had 20 years to stand the hell up. Pull our troops out and let the inevitable happen.

    1. And lose profits? No way! There are plenty of tax dollars that are earmarked for Joe’s friends.

  6. Remember folks, mean fucking tweets.

  7. >>Why would Biden, who as vice president promised a total withdrawal by 2014, want to extend America’s longest war?

    (D) lies about ending wars until they’re in charge where do they find you guys?

    1. Yeah, kind of like how they all had to blame Bush when they all voted to go to war in the first place. They had the same intel and came to the same conclusions, but didn’t want to be accountable for it.

    2. The worst thing is, it’s the opposite of the “both sides” narrative they push about the budget. The spending was going to happen, Republicans were never going to be able to spend more but, with effort, spent less. Here, they talked about ending the war, there is a deadline to end it that we were set to meet and they’re actively prolonging it. In both cases, the Democrats are demonstrably worse but Reason clings to the ‘both sides’ narrative.

    3. 2014? He and Obama RAN on ending the wars in 2008 and again in 2012.

      1. still lol’ing about O calling Afghanistan “the good war”

  8. Unless someone can persuade the clingers that every Afghan is a White heterosexual Christian male who desires to live in rural squalor, there is no way the Republicans and conservatives will go for it.

    1. We turn away Syrian Christians at the Mexico border already.

    2. Always knew you preferred gay brown Muslims — probably the boys too, eh?

    3. But Art, the whole point of putting Biden in the White House is that it no longer matters what Republicans and conservatives will go for.

      Remember when Biden liberated and dismantled Orange Hitler’s concentration camps, freeing kids from cages? It was literally the first thing he did after taking office. Republicans and conservatives objected, of course, but Biden replied with a firm “No Democratic Administration will tolerate kids in cages for even one day.”

    4. The Republicans did not promise to end the wars in 2008 and 2012, did they? Shall we, “run tape”? I’m sure I can easily find Obama and Biden making those statements. Now Biden is keeping the troops in Afghanistan. He can’t spend billions here without people seeing how the money is spent, but nobody is watching his friends and corrupt Generals in Afghanistan.
      Biden saw the Bushs become a billionaires off the wars. Monkey see, monkey do.

  9. The Taliban insurgency can and will outlast the U.S. occupation. Just like the democrat run KKK will outlast teh U.S. occupation of the south and now that they are in control of the whole government I’d say the north lost the war

  10. It’s always a treat when Koch-funded invites employees of the Koch-funded Cato Institute to promote Charles Koch’s open borders agenda.


    1. PS — This illustrates why neocons and Koch / Reason / Cato libertarians are natural allies. The neocons can start their wars, make them last for a few years or decades, and we libertarians can say “Clearly the humanitarian thing to do is invite the entire population of the country we just bombed to immigrate to the US.”

      It’s no accident that’s editor-in-chief KMW used to work with leading neocon intellectual Bill Kristol at The Weekly Standard.

      1. “Clearly the humanitarian thing to do is invite the entire population of the country we just bombed to immigrate to the US.”

        People deride your parody as humorless but that right there is some fucking gold.

        1. Yeah, that’s some good stuff.

          Tell me, at the point where you’re going to just go ahead and invite widespread immigration from a country that has a whole ton of reasons to hate you with all their will why wouldn’t we just declare them a territory and declare them all Americans?

          So f’ing stupid it’s almost unimaginable.

          Help them were they are if you’re such an amazing humanitarian. If you’re too scared to go there out of a rational fear of being murdered, don’t invite the same people into your home. That should just be common sense when you have no idea who the ‘friendly’ people are versus who the murderers are.

          1. Immigration = cheap labor

            The only relevant equation. All the bullshit about “freedom of movement,” the “right to earn a living safely,” the moral obligation to “rescue the helpless” is just that … bullshit.

            Billionaires funding a propaganda rag staffed by shit writers to make sure the flow of the cheap labor is not interrupted = Reason

            1. Just to point it out, immigration might be ‘cheap labor’ but historically just taking over another country entirely gets you the same end result if you want it to.

              My only point is it would be about as reasonable to ask for Afghanistan to be a special U.S. territory as it does to bomb them back into the stone age, not that they were far from it already, and then invite them in your front door and teach them chemistry.

            2. The only value of a person is that person’s labor in the marketplace. Got it.

              1. For the people pushing illegal immigration? Yes.
                This is about unregulated farm and factory labour and dirt cheap maids, nannies and gardeners for your precious elite.

        2. “We” didn’t bomb anything. The cowards in the Air Force did. They only exist to punish civilian populations.

        3. OBL on a roll today.

    2. movie looks ridiculous.

  11. So you’ve bought into the “Defund The Police” movement and now want to argue that instead of the US being the world’s policeman the US should be the world’s social worker.

    1. It’s almost like when they say “Borders are a figment of imagination.” and “We should protect and support all refugees within our borders.” they don’t actually care about the border and just want to give people free shit.

  12. While I do feel awful for the plight of Afghanis and victims of religious, political and economic persecution everywhere, I also do not think it is xenophobic, racist, ethnocentric or tribalist to put an addendum sign under the Emma Lazarus poem. The sign should read:

    “Welcome! The bamboo mats, mud-scrapers, and garden hoses are at the podium. Whatever brought you here, leave it back where you came! After you get the shit off your shoes, enjoy and respect Life, Liberty, Property, and Pursuit of Happiness!”

    1. “While I do feel awful for the plight of Afghanis”

      Then the least you could do is learn their name. Afghani is a unit of currency. One $US is 77 afghanis. Afghan is a person from Afghanistan. Or a breed of dog.

      1. Well, if that is the valuation, I feel bad for the Afghani currency too.

  13. This otherwise fine article omits the most important concern.
    Will they be reliable democratic voters?

    1. They won’t vote, because as a whole they believe in theocracy not democracy.

  14. Better yet, let’s send Reason to Kabul. They can open a headquarters there.

  15. So Reason is against ending a twenty year long war, because borders still exist? Whelp, at least their admitting they are no longer anti war.

    1. Also, kinda draws into serious doubt your motives with regard to property, culture, free speech, and the inherent goodness of human nature when you say that the primary problem with wars over lines drawn in the sand is the drawing of lines.

  16. Sure yeah more uneducated poor people will make things better.

  17. They’re not like you and me, therefore they are not worthy of coming to America.
    Only people who act, talk, and think like me deserve to come to America.
    Am I doing it right? Is that how the xenophobia goes?

    1. No, that’s how oikophobia and strawmanning goes, slaver.

      1. Oh, okay. Not being an xenophobic asshole automatically means that I hate native-born Americans. Is that it?

        1. It’s immaterial because you actually do hate half the country regardless of the issues surrounding illegal entry.

    2. “You guys argument is all “blooble-dooble darf darf” while i am very smart and unracist”

  18. Fling open the doors to a foreign, tribal civilization, permeated by islamists and terrorist organizations, who’s most fundamental beliefs are inconsistent with Western standards of freedom and liberty, and whose co-religionists murder disbelievers again, and again, and again,

    What could possibly go wrong?

    Stupidity like this is why I stopped donating a few years ago.

  19. Let the Afghan People Come

    Is this the coda to “When Cameron was in Egypt’s land…”?

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