Americans welcome more Afghans: The Biden administration announced Monday it would permit thousands of Afghans to resettle in the United States, citing the growing threat posed by a resurgent Taliban.
As part of a special visa program with strict requirements and vetting, the White House has begun evacuating Afghans who worked with the U.S. military during the 20-year U.S.-led war.
Afghans who work for U.S.-affiliated organizations face particular risks of retaliation by the Taliban, a militant Islamic group that has rapidly gained territory as the U.S. military withdraws.
“The U.S. objective remains a peaceful, secure Afghanistan,” the State Department said. Due to increased Taliban violence, the U.S. government is working to provide resettlement opportunities to certain Afghans, including those who worked with the United States.”
Afghans are fleeing their country amid a spike in violence fueled by the Taliban;
The group has seized new territory in recent weeks and taken over strategic border crossings with neighboring countries.
As a result, the number of civilians killed and wounded in violence across Afghanistan increased by 47% compared to the same period last year, according to the UN.
United Nations officials have also warned of an imminent refugee crisis in Afghanistan, saying 270,000 Afghans have been displaced inside the country since January “mainly due to insecurity and violence.”.
President Joe Biden has stated that U.S. troops will be out of the country by Aug. 31, bringing America’s longest war to an end before his original Sept. 11 deadline. Pentagon officials said the American withdrawal is already 90% complete.
After the U.S. leaves Afghanistan, the nation’s security has become increasingly unstable, and the Taliban has made dramatic gains on the country’s borders.
Legislators and human rights groups have been pressing the Biden administration to help Afghans who worked for the U.S. during the war.
A massive evacuation program announced by the Biden administration earlier this summer saw Afghan translators and others who served alongside U.S. troops land at Fort Lee, Virginia, on Friday.
About 2,500 Afghans – roughly 700 visa applicants and their immediate families – will be relocated in the coming weeks.
Although it’s unclear how many Afghans will be included in the new refugee designation. the State Department said it will provide resettlement opportunities for “thousands of Afghans and their immediate family members who may be at risk due to their affiliation with U.S. organizations.”