Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and former national security adviser H.R. McMaster have signed a letter addressed to top officials in the Biden Administration, Congress, and the United Nations urging them to help evacuate orphans from Afghanistan.
Rice and McMaster sent the letter, which was obtained by Axios, late on Tuesday to Vice President Kamala Harris, first lady Jill Biden, the U.S. Secretaries of State and Defense, the congressional leaders from both parties, the executive director of UNICEF, and UN Secretary-General António Guterres.
In the letter, they note that one orphanage that is home to about 200 children from persecuted ethnic and religious groups is particularly at-risk, that this is just one small portion of the number of orphans who lost their parents during the decades-long war in the country, and that it is currently unclear how many orphans were evacuated from Afghanistan before the U.S. fully withdrew from the country.
“We are extremely concerned that a lack of action on this matter could result in a new generation of individuals committed to waging war against the United States,” Rice and McMaster write.
“We know young boys are recruited, trained, and abused by the Taliban, and that young girls are forced to become wives to soldiers. Historically, the Taliban have used minors as suicide bombers who have inflicted violence against the Afghan people,” they continue.
“Many families in the United States, Canada, and Western Europe are eager to adopt these children and are currently being vetted by an expedited process. Private citizens of the United States are willing to fund the flights. These children do not have to face their current fate. With your help, they can be removed and safely placed with loving families who will give them an opportunity to lead a full life, free of violence, abuse, and oppression.”
McMaster told Axios on Tuesday that although he didn’t intend for the letter to become public, he signed it in order to promote awareness of “the Taliban’s record of child abuse on an industrial scale,” adding “at this stage it’s vitally important that the private sector work with our government and other governments to mitigate the human catastrophe in Afghanistan.”