Connecticut lawmakers lead conversation on how to support Afghans, help them get to U.S.

Connecticut

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — Thousands of Afghans who protected U.S. forces overseas remain in the country. Connecticut lawmakers have an idea of how to get them here and provide humanitarian aid without incentivizing the Taliban.

Senator Chris Murphy highlighted the issue abroad.

“What if we could help the Afghan people without directly empowering the Taliban,” Murphy said.

The Biden administration announced the U.S. will send more than $3 million to assist Afghanistan with the current famine and services the U.S. established in the country. Murphy wants to do this by funneling the money through agencies like the United Nations.

In doing this, Senator Richard Blumenthal wrote a letter to the Secretary of State and the Ambassador of the United Nations saying, “While supporting humanitarian assistance, we should insist that negotiations between the United Nations and the Taliban for governmental assistance provide for evacuation of at-risk Afghan allies.”

Matthew Schmidt, an associate professor of national security and political science at the University of New Haven, will forever be tied to Afghanistan and the family he helped escape.

“He was very lucky to have gotten out when he got out,” Schmidt said.

They got out the day before the U.S. left Kabul and the borders shut down last August.

Atif Ahmadzai was a translator for a captain who had a mutual friend with Matthew. Between the captain’s contacts in the Airborne and Matthew’s contacts in the State Department, they got the family out and they are now resettled in New Haven.

“He deserved this protection like any American would have deserved it,” Schmidt said. “He was risking his life for his own country, his own people and for ours.”

Schmidt hopes lawmakers in the state can do the same for more Afghan families. He believes it is possible that the Taliban would allow all this to happen as they are at risk of a famine, which is likely to cause the population to become restless and turn on them.

He said the Taliban should see a benefit in having aid brought in that they cannot provide.

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