Calling for evacuation of vulnerable Afghans, demonstrators rally in downtown Los Angeles

Leanne Suter Image
Sunday, August 22, 2021
Calling for evacuation of vulnerable Afghans, demonstrators rally LA
Demonstrators rallied in downtown Los Angeles, calling on President Biden to do more to evacuate vulnerable Afghans stranded in Afghanistan.

DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- A peaceful protest was held Saturday afternoon in downtown Los Angeles, where demonstrators called on President Joe Biden and Congress to do more to evacuate vulnerable Afghans who remain stranded in Afghanistan after the Taliban seized control of most of the country.

Chanting "Afghan lives matter!" several dozen activists lined the sidewalk in front of the Hall of Justice, waving Afghan national flags and holding enlarged photos of Afghan women and children. Others carried signs that said "HELP THE REFUGEES!" and "SAVE OUR INTERPRETERS!"

"We are urging the entire world to come together and open their borders for people who just lost their homes," said Hameeda Uloomi of the nonprofit AFG Aid. "We are trying to open our doors, our country, for people who lost theirs."

On Sunday, Biden said the U.S.-led evacuation of Americans, at-risk Afghans and others from the Kabul airport accelerated this weekend, although it remains vulnerable to threats posed by the Islamic State extremist group.

One week after the Taliban completed its takeover of Afghanistan by capturing Kabul, Biden said discussions are underway among military officials about potentially extending the airlift beyond Biden's Aug. 31 deadline. "Our hope is we will not have to extend, but there are discussions," he said, suggesting the possibility that the Taliban will be consulted.

Biden says 11,000 flown from Kabul over weekend during Sunday speech

President Joe Biden says he remains committed to assisting all Americans who want to leave Afghanistan get out.

Since Aug. 14, one day before the Taliban entered Kabul, the airlift has evacuated 28,000 people, Biden said. He did not elaborate, but that number appeared to include not just U.S. military flights but also charter and non-U.S. military flights.

Speaking at the White House, Biden said 11,000 people had been airlifted from Kabul in a 36-hour period this weekend, but he did not provide details. The number appeared to include flights by charter and non-U.S. military aircraft as well as the U.S. Air Force C-17 and C-130 transport planes that have been flying daily from the capital. Tens of thousands of people remain to join the airlift, which has been slowed by security issues and U.S. bureaucracy hurdles.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.