San Antonio families ask Rep. Castro to help loved ones in Afghanistan

Many fear Taliban reprisal for aiding US forces

SAN ANTONIO – San Antonio families who have contacted U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro are asking him to do whatever he can to help their loved ones who were in Afghanistan when it fell to the Taliban.

“We’re working with the State Department to try to make the case that these folks should be evacuated to the United States or to another allied nation where they can find safety,” Castro said.

He said many of those families’ relatives were among the tens of thousands of Afghan citizens who helped the U.S. military during America’s longest-running war.

As a result, he said, some of them are being targeted by the Taliban.

“That’s why it’s important and urgent for us to help evacuate as many of those folks as possible,” Castro said.

However, despite their years of service, Castro said getting them special immigrant visas can be time-consuming.

“That, of course, is a whole process because people have to qualify for the visas and so forth,” Castro said.

Castro said he voted to expand the special immigrant visa program, and he supports a strong refugee resettlement program.

“We cannot let government bureaucracy or red tape hold us back from saving lives,” Castro said in a statement.

He said Afghan allies, particularly women and girls, are among the most vulnerable.

Castro said the evacuation flights are speeding up for those who have visas now that the U.S. military has regained control of the airport in Kabul.

Castro, a member of the House Foreign Relations and Intelligence committees, said both the House and Senate would conduct oversight hearings looking at the withdrawal and America’s 20-year history in Afghanistan.


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About the Authors:

Jessie Degollado has been with KSAT since 1984. She is a general assignments reporter who covers a wide variety of stories. Raised in Laredo and as an anchor/reporter at KRGV in the Rio Grande Valley, Jessie is especially familiar with border and immigration issues. In 2007, Jessie also was inducted into the San Antonio Women's Hall of Fame.

William Caldera has been at KSAT since 2003. He covers a wide range of stories including breaking news, weather, general assignments and sports.