Guam consulting with feds on Afghan evacuation just in case

Several hundred families are living in a camp for returnees from Afghanistan. (Haroon Janjua via Fox News

Advocacy groups are calling on the federal government to relocate Afghans who assisted U.S. troops to Guam for their safety.

According to Defense One — a Washington D.C.-based news website that covers national security issues — an advocacy group called No One Left Behind is pushing for the move.

According to the story, No One Left Behind co-founder Matthew Zeller said that those who help the US military in war are usually given special visas to relocate to the United States.

However, the Biden administration’s timeframe to withdraw troops from Afghanistan doesn’t give them enough time to be processed for visas before U.S. forces leave the country.

And Afghans who’ve assisted the U.S. are fearing retaliation from the Taliban and other groups.

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Although the story has made the rounds locally and some federal lawmakers have backed the proposal, so far, it’s simply a proposal by a private organization.

Carlotta Leon Guerrero, the governor’s chief advisor on military and regional affairs told Newstalk K57’s Pauly Suba that there doesn’t seem to be any official movement on the proposal at this time.

“The governor and the government of Guam have not been notified that Guam is being considered as a staging area … a staging site, for any possible evacuation of these key Afghan personnel before September 6. So we have not been notified of that,” Leon Guerrero said.

Leon Guerrero said that she’s reached out to Joint Region Marianas, Guam Congressman Michael San Nicolas, and the US State Department for more information.

She said that the groups advocating to evacuate Afghans who assisted the U.S have also proposed staging them in U.S. military bases in Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.

Advocates have pointed out that Guam previously hosted refugees from the Vietnam War, the first Gulf War, and the eruption of Mount Pinatubo.

It’s been projected that the number of Afghan refugees in Guam could reach 70,000.

Leon Guerrero said that given the logistical challenges that such an influx of people would create, she and the governor will continue to aggressively seek information on any developments.

“The governor has directed me to go digging, so we’re going to stay on top of this, in addition to whether there’s going to be an official channel between the governor and the State Department and the DoD. We’re staying on top of it, we’re hitting our networks, we’re hitting our contacts…as I’ve said, we’ve reached out to Congressman San Nicolas’ office, the State Department, Joint Region we’re going to play deputy dog and stay on this,” Leon Guerrero emphasized.