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US and allies to evacuate 4,000 Afghan nationals who assisted coalition forces




U.S. Army 1st Lt. Benjamin Riley (right) and an interpreter from the Zabul Provincial Reconstruction Team (center) meet a villager while on patrol to the Arghandab River, Afghanistan, July 19, 2011 .

Source: US Army

WASHINGTON The United States is working with its allies to secure multiple overseas locations for approximately 4,000 Afghan nationals and their families as US and coalition troops withdraw from the war-torn country.

The interagency effort, dubbed Operation Allies Refuge, comes as the State Department works on a backlog of more than 10,000 special immigrant visas for eligible Afghans who have assisted coalition forces. Those who have completed the majority of their visa process will be evacuated to a US Army garrison in Virginia.

A senior State Department official, who requested anonymity to discuss specific details of the resettlement plan, said Afghan nationals and their families would stay at Fort Lee for about seven to ten days.

The official added that due to a limited US military presence in Afghanistan, those eligible for an evacuation flight must make the trip on their own to Kabul.

“We don’t have the capacity to provide transportation for them. If they are say in the north of the country and they don’t feel safe staying in Afghanistan, they could go to a neighboring country and finish the rest SIV [special immigrant visa] application process there, ”the official said.

Last week, the White House announced that it will begin evacuation flights this month for Afghan nationals and their families who have assisted US coalition and NATO forces during the states longest war. -United.

As the Taliban advance rapidly on the battlefield, there are concerns that Afghans who aided US and NATO forces will face retaliation.

In April, Biden ordered the complete withdrawal of about 3,000 American troops from Afghanistan by September 11, ending the United States’ longest war. Last week, Biden gave an updated schedule and said the US military mission in Afghanistan would end by August 31.

“We did not go to Afghanistan to build a nation,” Biden said in remarks to the White House. “It’s up to the Afghans to make the decisions about the future of their country.”

At the Pentagon on Wednesday, the country’s top military officer told reporters that the United States has completed more than 95% of the Herculean task of withdrawing from Afghanistan.

“The volume of movement involved in this operation has been extraordinary,” said US Army Joint Chiefs Chairman General Mark Milley, adding that the United States has carried out more than 980 air cargo transports in less than three months.

“In addition, all bases of military operations, outside of Kabul, have been fully transferred to the Afghan Ministry of Defense and Afghan security forces.




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