Governor: Utah ‘eager to assist’ Afghanistan refugees

Local Politics

Hundreds of people gather near a U.S. Air Force C-17 transport plane at a perimeter at the international airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, Monday, Aug. 16, 2021. On Monday, the U.S. military and officials focus was on Kabul’s airport, where thousands of Afghans trapped by the sudden Taliban takeover rushed the tarmac and clung to U.S. military planes deployed to fly out staffers of the U.S. Embassy, which shut down Sunday, and others. (AP Photo/Shekib Rahmani)

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – Amid the turmoil occurring in Afghanistan as US troops withdraw and the Taliban takes over, hundreds of people are either being evacuated from the country or looking for a place to go. Utah’s governor has offered the Beehive State as a destination.

“I recognize Utah plays no direct role in shaping U.S. diplomatic or military policy, but we have a long history of welcoming refugees from around the world and helping them restart their lives in a new country,” Governor Spencer Cox writes in a letter to President Joe Biden.

He continues, saying Utah is “eager to continue that practice and assist with the resettlement of individuals and families fleeing Afghanistan, especially those who valiantly helped U.S. troops, diplomats, journalists, and other civilians over the past 20 years.”

Currently, the U.S. is bringing some Afghans to military bases in Virginia, Texas, and Wisconsin.

“Our state was settled by refugees fleeing religious persecution 170 years ago,” Gov. Cox writes. “Their descendants have a deep understanding of the danger and pain caused by forced migration and an appreciation for the wonderful contributions of refugees in our communities.”

The governor goes on to ask President Biden to “advise us in the coming days and weeks how we can assist.”

The Pentagon says its goal is to get up to 9,000 people on flights and out of Afghanistan each day. President Biden has defended his decision to withdraw troops from Afghanistan.

“There was never a good time to withdraw U.S. forces,” Biden continued. “American troops cannot and should not be fighting in a war and dying in a war that Afghan forces are not willing to fight for themselves.”

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