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NATO's Responsibility to Save Afghans

The founding principle of the North Atlantic Alliance is that an attack on one is an attack on all. So, too, should a humanitarian challenge as big as the NATO is leaving behind in Afghanistan be embraced by all.

TIRANA – There are few more honorable pages in Albania’s history than its lonely example of heroism in the face of the destruction of European Jewry during World War II. Nobody asked our grandparents to risk, and often sacrifice, their lives to save people from the Holocaust, yet countless Albanians – Muslims, Christians, and atheists – did just that. Thanks to the Albanian code of honor, which demands all of us to offer shelter to strangers in need, Albania was the only country in Europe with more Jews at the war’s end than at its start.

Immediately afterward, we experienced persecution firsthand. After prevailing over our external enemies, we encountered an equally vicious one at home: an oppressive totalitarian regime that jailed, tortured, and murdered those it perceived as enemies.

We lived what the people of Afghanistan now face as the Taliban consolidate power throughout the country. We lived in a state that sealed its border and persecuted dissidents and their families, just like the Taliban are expected to do with their adversaries. For nearly 50 years, we aspired to have the freedom that Afghans tasted over the last 20 years and which they now seem certain to lose.