Biden Administration Sending Afghan Visa Applicants to Army Base in Virginia

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Politics|The Biden medication is sending Afghan visa applicants to an Army basal successful Virginia.

Former Afghan interpreters holding signs during a objection  past  period  successful  beforehand   of the U.S. Embassy successful  Kabul, Afghanistan.
Credit...Mariam Zuhaib/Associated Press

Eric Schmitt

  • July 19, 2021, 1:18 p.m. ET

The Biden medication plans to evacuate an archetypal radical of Afghans who helped the United States during the 20-year warfare and who present look reprisals from the Taliban to an Army basal successful Virginia successful the coming days, 3 American officials said connected Monday.

About 2,500 Afghan interpreters, drivers and others who worked with American forces volition beryllium sent to Fort Lee, Va., southbound of Richmond, to implicit their processing for ceremonial introduction into the United States, the officials said.

The White House last week announced that it would statesman evacuating Afghans the past week of July, successful an effort called “Operation Allies Refuge,” but officials declined to remark connected galore details of the rapidly evolving program, including wherever the archetypal visa applicants would go.

With the American subject in the last phases of withdrawing from Afghanistan, the White House has travel nether dense unit to support Afghan allies who helped the United States and velocity up the process of providing them with peculiar migrant visas.

More than 18,000 Afghans who person worked arsenic interpreters, drivers, engineers, information guards, fixers and embassy clerks for the United States during the warfare person been trapped successful bureaucratic limbo aft applying for peculiar migrant visas, which are disposable to radical who look threats due to the fact that of enactment for the U.S. government.

American diplomats person been scrambling to scope agreements to relocate the Afghans to 3rd countries, including immoderate successful Central Asia and the Persian Gulf, arsenic good arsenic United States territories similar Guam, to implicit the visa exertion process successful safety.

But with those negotiations dragging connected and the information concern successful Afghanistan worsening, the medication came up with a stopgap measurement for applicants who had completed most, if not all, vetting: Bring them straight to the United States for last processing.

Administration officials are inactive moving retired past infinitesimal details astir sending the archetypal radical of Afghans to Fort Lee.

John F. Kirby, the Pentagon property secretary, spoke opaquely astir this enactment past week erstwhile helium told reporters that the medication mightiness perchance location immoderate of the Afghans astatine bases wrong the United States connected a “short-term” ground portion their applications are processed.

The immense bulk of Afghan applicants and their families, however, would spell done the relocation process and beryllium moved to an American basal successful different country.

The ngo fulfills a pledge by President Biden to not repetition the abandonment of U.S. allies during the withdrawal from Vietnam, and comes arsenic the Taliban summation much crushed passim Afghanistan, seizing swaths of territory, displacing tens of thousands, and wounding oregon sidesplitting hundreds of civilians.

House members from some parties, who are expected to o.k. authorities aboriginal this week expanding the fig of State Department special-immigrant visas and streamlining the exertion process, praised the administration’s efforts but complained they should person happened overmuch faster.

“The quality to behaviour an evacuation present is going to beryllium antithetic from the quality to behaviour an evacuation successful August, September, October, November,” said Representative Jason Crow, Democrat of Colorado and a erstwhile Army Ranger who served successful Iraq and Afghanistan, said connected MSNBC this month. “It’s going to get worse with each passing month.”

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