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It Will Take US More Than Two Years to Evacuate Afghan Aides Eligible for Resettlement - Reports

Sputnik News

19:25 GMT 07.08.2021

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - Washington has so far evacuated less than 1% of Afghans who have collaborated with the United States and plan to leave Afghanistan due to increasing threat from the Taliban*, the NBC reported Saturday.

The US has pledged to withdraw its troops from Afghanistan by the end of August and to pull out thousands of Afghan citizens who have collaborated with the US forces. On August 2, the State Department announced its plans to expand the refugee resettlement program to admit more Afghan aides.

Over the past week, about 700 people were transported to the US, the news said. This means that so far, the administration has evacuated less than one percent of the 80,000 Afghans who have applied for the Special Immigration Visa (SIV).

The US plans to continue flying out 700 Afghans every week, so it will take Washington more than two years to move about 20,000 SIV-eligible Afghans and their families, according to the NBC.

The evacuation process is slowed down by the additional medical examinations, which the US Department of Homeland Security has insisted on introducing for the arriving Afghans, the news said citing two State Department officials. They also noted that government agencies and non-governmental organizations were ill-prepared for the arrival of Afghans due to budget cuts under former President Donald Trump, the NBC stated.

Afghanistan is seeing a spike in violence now as the Taliban have stepped up their offensive after international troops started a gradual withdrawal from the country. The pullout, scheduled to be completed by September, was one of the points of the agreement that the radical group and the United States reached in Doha in February 2020.

Over the recent months, local interpreters and other staff began facing increasing threats from the Taliban for helping foreign forces throughout the last twenty years of the war in Afghanistan. Washington vowed to ensure their safety, and earlier in July, US President Joe Biden announced relocation flights from Afghanistan for interpreters and other allies.

* A terrorist organization Banned in Russia

© Sputnik

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