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Unrest in Afghanistan 'heart-wrenching, not surprising for Baltimore-based immigrant ally

Posted at 5:54 PM, Aug 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-17 17:55:07-04

BALTIMORE — The president of the country’s largest nonprofit focused on immigrant resettlement issues says while the fall of the Afghanistan government is heart breaking, it’s not surprising.

Since the U.S. began with drawing troopers from Afghanistan Krish O’Mara Vignarajah says she the red flags waving early on. She’s hopeful the U.S. can get a grip on the unrest there.

“We were screaming from the rooftops about this issue for months," she shared.

As the CEO of Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, the nation’s largest nonprofit focused on serving vulnerable immigrants' issues, she calls the Taliban takeover heart wrenching.

As troops leave the country she says the US should be accountable for the nearly 80 thousand afghan allies who will remain under Taliban Control

“The faced death threats, they are fearful for their lives and for e lives of their family because we know that the Taliban are seeking retribution," Vignarajah explained.

Many of them are interpreters, translators drivers who worked alongside US troops and for the US Embassy are eligible for special immigrant visas.

Maryland receives more of these SIV's than nearly any other states and we stand ready and willing to do even more. It's the least we can do," said Governor Larry Hogan.

She calls Governor Hogan’s message Monday heartening.

But noted his announcement won’t hold any weight without the US ensuring thousands of afghan migrants successfully evacuate Afghanistan.

Nearly 80 percent of those on the heavily vetted waiting list are women and girls, fearful to return to the country’s old way of life.. some many only grew up hearing about.

Vignarajah says this is a time that requires more action from leaders and less words…

"We need every political leader to understand that this is about a moral and military obligation. When they risked their lives to protect ours we made a promise to them," she expressed.

But President Biden sees that issue differently.

American troops cannot and should not be dying in a war that Afghan forces are not willing to fight for themselves," he said.