Photo by Alyssa Pointer-Pool/Getty Images

Preston Hollow neighbors George and Laura Bush are advocating for a quick evacuation of the Afghan people, American citizens and allies from Afghanistan.

“The United States government has the legal authority to cut the red tape for refugees during urgent humanitarian crises,” the former president said in a statement published by the George W. Bush Presidential Center. “And we have the responsibility and the resources to secure safe passage for them now, without bureaucratic delay.”

Bush’s statement comes as the U.S. deployed 7,000 troops to Afghanistan to help evacuation efforts after the Taliban took control of Kabul and the government.

President Joe Biden defended his decision to withdraw troops from the country in a speech Monday. He also acknowledged the Taliban’s takeover of the country came sooner than expected.

“If anything, the developments in the past week reinforced that ending U.S. military involvement in Afghanistan now was the right decision,” Biden said. “American troops cannot and should not be fighting in a war, and dying in a war, that Afghan forces are not willing to fight for themselves.”

U.S. troops entered Afghanistan after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, during Bush’s presidency.

In the statement, Bush addressed U.S. military personnel and veterans.

Many of you deal with wounds of war, both visible and invisible. And some of your brothers and sisters in arms made the ultimate sacrifice in the war on terror. Each day, we have been humbled by your commitment and your courage. You took out a brutal enemy and denied Al Qaeda a safe haven while building schools, sending supplies, and providing medical care. You kept America safe from further terror attacks, provided two decades of security and opportunity for millions, and made America proud. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts and will always honor your contributions.

Bush also noted the young population of Afghanistan and their ability to shape the country’s future.

Read the full statement here.