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Blinken Hearing on US Withdrawal from Afghanistan: Live Updates

An ideologically diverse group of Democrats are pushing Secretary of State Antony Blinken to take specific action to help thousands still seeking to leave Afghanistan, underscoring widespread concern in Congress over the evacuation effort of the war-torn country.

In a letter provided to CNN earlier this month, more than three dozen House Democrats – from the most liberal to the most moderate – also want additional information on the more than 116,000 people who have been evacuated from the country.

“Our immediate goal is to ensure the safety of the thousands of people who have contacted our offices seeking to leave Afghanistan, starting first with US citizens and US lawful permanent residents as well as SIV, refugees eligible for the P-2 and P-1 status, and other designated Afghans, ”the letter reads.

“These are our people, partners and friends, countless of whom have helped the US mission in Afghanistan and protected our military,” he adds.

The letter was led by Representatives Jason Crow from Colorado as well as three Democrats in some of the most competitive districts in the country – Elissa Slotkin from Michigan and Tom Malinowski and Andy Kim, both from New Jersey. But its signatories run the gamut – from progressive leaders like Pramila Jayapal of Washington to moderate Blue Dog Democrats like Jim Cooper of Tennessee.

The pressure on the Biden administration comes as the White House has sought to move past the chaotic recent weeks in Afghanistan and pivot on the national agenda. But concerns from Democratic lawmakers suggest the issue will not be off the table.

Several Democrats have sharply criticized Biden’s handling of the withdrawal process and the chaotic evacuation of Kabul, which the president himself admits failed to get all Americans out of the country.

In the letter, Democrats called for a “breakdown of the more than 116,000 evacuees,” including how many were US citizens and how many held special visas.