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Gov. Larry Hogan says Maryland is ‘ready and willing’ to accept additional Afghan refugees following Taliban takeover

Following the collapse of Afghanistan’s government , Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan said Monday that the state is “ready and willing” to take on additional Afghan refugees.

“The chaotic and heartbreaking scenes out of Afghanistan over the last several days, with innocent civilians running for their lives in fear of the Taliban, is a result of a rushed and irresponsible withdrawal,” the Republican governor said in a video statement posted to Twitter. “Many of these Afghan citizens, our allies, bravely risked their lives to provide invaluable support for our efforts as interpreters and support staff. We have a moral obligation to help them.”

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Afghans who helped the United States as support staff or interpreters are eligible for Special Immigrant Visas for their service. Hogan said Maryland expects to receive at least 180 refugees through the program, with the governor saying it is more than almost any other state.

The governor said Maryland would welcome even more refugees and encouraged anyone in need to contact the state’s Office of Refugees and Asylees.

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“It’s the least we can do,” he said.

Emboldened by the U.S. withdrawal, Taliban fighters swept across the country last week and captured the capital, Kabul, on Sunday, sending U.S.-backed Afghan President Ashraf Ghani fleeing the country.

President Joe Biden addressed the nation Monday afternoon, rejecting the blame for the chaos but admitted that the Taliban took over the country faster than his administration expected, while the U.S. rushed in troops to protect its own evacuating diplomats and others at the Kabul airport.

The Democratic president did not waver on his decision for the withdrawal, saying “the buck stops with me” and placed almost all blame on Afghans for the shockingly rapid Taliban takeover.

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The Associated Press contributed to this article.

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