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‘Save Our Allies’ VP calls out State Dept. for delays in Afghan SIV processing: Hands are ‘tied’

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The State Department is facing criticism as it remains backlogged over Afghan SIV applicants, one year after the U.S. withdrawal from the Taliban-controlled nation. 

“Save Our Allies” Vice President Nick Palmisciano described the “incredibly frustrating” process as the volunteer group, dedicated to rescuing Americans and U.S. allies trapped behind enemy lines, scrambles to rescue allies still trapped in the country. 

“There absolutely are a ton of people still in Afghanistan,” Palmisciano said on “Fox & Friends First” Wednesday. “We are still getting messages every day and it’s absolutely heartbreaking. We left people there, and we did not even plan to scale up the number of people from [the] Department of State that were going to help process SIVs, that were going to help get these people to safety.”

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“We didn’t do anything ahead of time before the withdrawal, and we’re not doing enough now,” he continued. 

“Save Our Allies” co-founder Chad Robichaux joined “Fox & Friends First” earlier this week, explaining how it would take the State Department 140 years to complete processing for the remaining applicants at the current rate. 

Crowds of people wait outside the airport in Kabul, Afghanistan August 25, 2021 in this picture obtained from social media. 

Crowds of people wait outside the airport in Kabul, Afghanistan August 25, 2021 in this picture obtained from social media. 
(Twitter/David Martinon via Reuters/File Photo)

“If you average… 4.5 family members, we’re talking 334,000 pending applications, [and] that doesn’t include who is already here,” Robichaux said. “The rate that they’re bringing people out is 200 cases per week, so it would take 140 years to get all of our interpreters out of Afghanistan at the rate the State Department’s doing it.”

The group has evacuated around 12,000 people from Afghanistan, but Palmisciano says their hands are “tied” with the delays. 

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“It is a terrible situation and the toll that it takes on all of the volunteers is significant,” Palmisciano said. “There is not a day that goes by where people are not begging us with very real problems and our hands are essentially tied. We have to wait for this Department of State process.”

Palmisciano reiterated the need for government support, stressing the group is in great need of designating a place for SIV applicants to go as they flee to safety. 

“If they can’t go directly to the United States you essentially shoulder the burden of funding these people for months or even in some cases a year at a time,” Palmisciano said. “It’s unsustainable for any NGO, so we need government support.”

Bailee Hill is an associate editor with Fox News Digital.

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