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SALT LAKE CITY — Utah's two senators say their joint constituent office is working around the clock to help the evacuation of U.S. and Afghan citizens from Afghanistan amid the Taliban takeover.
Staffers for Republican Sens. Mike Lee and Mitt Romney are engaged with those who have asked for assistance — both American and Afghan citizens — with evacuation, as well as visa and refugee application assistance. They are working to connect people with the correct office at the State Department to help them.
"We and our teams will continue doing everything in our power to assist our citizens and our partners," the senators said in a statement.
On Thursday, Romney tweeted that the Biden administration cannot continue to defend the indefensible.
"Civilian citizens and our Afghan partners should always leave first — then the military. We cannot abruptly abandon the people who helped us over the past 20 years and leave them to face the Taliban alone," he said.
Also, Romney teamed up with Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., to urge top Biden administration officials to ensure the safety of about 200 journalists who continue to be targets of the Taliban, along with their support staff and families in Afghanistan.
The senators wrote in a letter Wednesday to Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas that despite the risk, journalists have been on the front lines keeping people informed and government leaders accountable.
"Those who contributed to a free and open press in Afghanistan will likely face retribution by the Taliban, and must be brought to safety," Romney and Klobuchar said.
The Administration cannot continue to defend the indefensible: Civilian citizens and our Afghan partners should always leave first—then the military. We cannot abruptly abandon the people who helped us over the past 20 years and leave them to face the Taliban alone.— Mitt Romney (@MittRomney) August 19, 2021
They also noted that just last week, suspected Taliban members reportedly targeted members of the press, including an Afghan radio station manager in Kabul who was kidnapped, and a journalist in Helmand province who was killed.
Lee and Romney said the Biden administration must do everything it can to bring U.S. citizens home and safely evacuate Afghan allies, many of whom have risked their lives to help American forces the past 20 years.
"Oftentimes, they have safeguarded the lives of American troops. Now under immediate threat by the Taliban, we have a duty and moral obligation to assist these brave men and women," the Utah senators said.