The US military has launched an operation to bring to the US Afghans who have assisted in the years of war in their country. A first group of more than two hundred Afghans, who worked as translators for the American army, among other things, were transferred to the United States on Friday. The Afghan employees would otherwise risk falling victim to acts of revenge carried out by the Taliban. That reports Reuters news agency.
According to President Biden, the first 200 are just the beginning of the evacuation of Afghans who have cooperated with the military. Initially, it concerns a group of approximately 2,500 Afghans, who have worked for the army as interpreters, drivers or in some other way. Roughly every three days, another planeload of Afghans will be brought to the US. According to Biden, it is important for the security of Afghans that they await the process of their visa application in the US rather than in their own country. US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin says the US has a “moral obligation” to “help ourselves now those who have helped us.”
Not all Afghans who qualify for a US visa are currently able to get to the capital, Kabul, where they can reach the US embassy or board the evacuation flights. In recent weeks, the Taliban have tightened their hold, especially in remote areas of the country. The evacuees who do manage to reach the plane will first spend a week at an army base in the state of Virginia, where they must undergo extensive identity checks.
The United States is in negotiations with other countries to see if it can temporarily accommodate Afghans during the visa application, as it is now important to get them out of Afghanistan quickly. The governments in Qatar and Kuwait, among others, are being asked whether they can accommodate Afghans on military bases. About 18,000 Afghans who have worked for the US military are currently awaiting the outcome of their application for the special visa required to be removed from the country.
There is also a discussion in the Netherlands about what should be done with almost three hundred Afghan interpreters who worked for the Dutch army during the mission in Afghanistan. Now that the Americans are withdrawing, this also means that the mission for the Dutch military has come to an end. While the security situation in Afghanistan is rapidly deteriorating, many evacuation requests are coming in from Afghans. These must be checked, as there are also applications from people who have never worked for the Dutch army. The House of Representatives is calling for more haste to bring back the Afghan interpreters.
Also read: Interpreted, and now in the waiting room