Shaheen Participates in Afghan SIVs Panel Discussion Highlighting Urgent Need for U.S. to Safeguard Afghan Allies

July 16, 2021

**Shaheen’s legislation that increases the authorized number of Afghan Special Immigrant Visas & improves visa processing has growing bipartisan support in the Senate** 

(Washington, DC) – Today, U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), a senior member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and leading lawmaker in the Senate in support of the Afghan Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) program, participated in a discussion of how the U.S. can support our Afghan allies as the U.S. withdrawal concludes, including through improving and bolstering the SIV program. The Senator discussed her leadership in the Senate on efforts to increase the number of authorized visas and streamline the program’s efficiency, as well as the need to protect vulnerable groups like minorities and women against the surge of attacks from the Taliban.  

The panel was hosted by the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) and featured panelists including former Ambassadors Ryan Crocker, Earl Anthony Wayne and Janice Jacobs.  

“I appreciated today’s discussion on how to strengthen protections for our Afghan allies, especially given the very real dangers they face from an emboldened Taliban as the U.S. concludes its withdrawal from Afghanistan,” said Shaheen. “The U.S. must not abandon those who fought alongside our troops – putting the safety of themselves and their families on the line – and we’re losing precious time to act. Failing to do so would not only put thousands of Afghans in harm’s way, but would also signal to our allies that the U.S. cannot be trusted as a strategic partner. I’ll continue working with Senators across the aisle and with the administration to protect vulnerable groups and ensure we don’t break our promise to those who risked their lives in support of the U.S. mission.” 

You can watch the panel discussion here.

Senator Shaheen is leading the bipartisan effort in the Senate to strengthen the SIV program and protect Afghan allies who risked their lives to support the U.S. mission through her bill, the Afghan Allies Protection Act. The bill would increase the number of authorized visas, remove extraneous paperwork requirements and improve the program’s efficiency. She historically partnered with Senator John McCain (R-AZ) on this priority. In the fiscal year 2021 government funding legislation that was signed into law, Senator Shaheen secured an additional 4,000 Afghan SIVs. Shaheen has also expressed serious concerns for the safety of Afghan women and other vulnerable groups in Afghanistan as the U.S. withdraws its forces. She has repeatedly fought to make the inclusion of Afghan women in ongoing negotiations a U.S. foreign policy priority and is the author of the Women, Peace and Security Actwhich was signed into law in 2017 and ensures women’s leadership roles in conflict resolution and peace negotiations.       

###