As the United States seeks more landing sites, the first Afghan evacuees arrive; Taliban threatens interpreters

The Biden administration has begun to evacuate the first batch of translators and other Afghan nationals who may face retaliation to the United States. Taliban Senior government officials announced on Thursday that the rebellion was to help the U.S. military.

The first flight from Kabul departed this week with only more than 200 people on board.Expected to arrive in the United States in the early hours of Friday morning, the team will complete the final steps of the visa application process in Fort Lee, Virginia, and then resettle within the United States.

Russ Travers, deputy adviser to the Department of Homeland Security, said: “I am very proud to announce that our first batch of Afghan special immigrants who were resettled under the Allied Asylum Operation are now on their way to the United States.” This flight represented the fulfillment of America’s commitments and commended these Afghans for their brave service in helping support our mission. Afghanistan, Which in turn helps keep our country safe. “

In addition, Secretary of State Anthony Brinken called on US allies in Kuwait on Thursday to agree to take away some Afghans who wanted to leave. Supporters said they risked their lives to assist the US in the country’s 20-year military and reconstruction work. President Biden is coming to an end.

Mr. Brinken told reporters that the issue of finding new homes for Afghan nationals had been discussed, but he did not announce any firm commitments. ABC News reported on Thursday that possible hosts include Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and some Central Asian countries such as Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan.

“We are discussing with some countries the possibility of temporarily resettling Afghans,” Mr. Brinken said. “This is one of the issues raised in our conversation today, but we are very focused on fulfilling our obligations.”

Under pressure from both parties in Congress, Mr. Biden announced earlier this month the Allied Asylum Campaign, which aims to resettle those who apply for Special Immigrant Visas (SIV) to countries outside the US military and government. Afghanistan Waiting for final approval to immigrate to the United States

Mr. Travers said he expects that in the next few weeks, approximately 2,500 Afghans will be relocated as part of the allies’ asylum operations, including 700 major SIV applicants and their families.

This work is coordinated by the State Department, with representatives from the Department of Defense, the Department of Health and Human Services, and the Department of Homeland Security also participating.

State Department leader Tracey Jacobson said that all Afghans planning to relocate have undergone extensive background screening and COVID-19 testing. Before obtaining immigration status, the first batch of arrivals will undergo medical examinations required by the Department of Homeland Security in Fort Lee. They will also have the opportunity to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

Ms. Jacobson expects that the team will stay in Fort Lee for approximately 7 days.

Since the announcement of the withdrawal in April, the White House has been under pressure from lawmakers to provide a safe haven for its allies in Afghanistan.

Nearly 18,000 applicants who have fallen into a backlog in the State Department’s visa process AfghanistanIt is estimated that it will not be processed until next year. Legislators on both sides of the aisle believe that the rapidly deteriorating security situation in the country will pose serious risks to those who are still waiting for visa approval.

Ms. Jacobson said that those who were initially relocated were those who were in the final stages of the process, but were considering relocating those who did not go so far in the process to other countries outside the United States to complete their processing.

The House of Representatives recently passed legislation aimed at simplifying the SIV application process and adding 8,000 visas to the program. Earlier this week, the White House told lawmakers that the relocation would require approximately $1 billion in emergency funding.

Evacuation is a prospect Afghanistan After the U.S. withdrawal became more and more dire, as the insurgents Taliban A large area of ​​territory was taken from the Kabul government backed by the United States, even though the last U.S. and allied combat forces are packing up.

In the quarterly report submitted to Congress this week, the Special Inspector General of Afghanistan’s Reconstruction John Sopko described Afghanistan As “dim” and pointed out Taliban Now controls about half of the country.

“The overall trend is obviously not conducive to the Afghan government. If it is not resolved and reversed, the Afghan government may face an existential crisis,” he said.

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