US offers refuge to more Afghans who aided Americans in new program
The United States said on Monday it was ready to take in thousands more Afghans whose the United States links put them at risk from the Taliban as Western troops leave, but the asylum-seekers will face an arduous journey to safety.
The State Department has increased the eligibility of refugee admissions beyond the roughly 20,000 Afghans who have registered under a program for interpreters who supported United States soldiers and diplomats, less than a month before the United States is due to finish its longest-ever war.
“In light of increased levels of Taliban violence, the United States government is working to provide certain Afghans, including those who worked with the US, the opportunity for refugee resettlement to the United States,” the State Department said in a statement.
“This designation expands the opportunity to permanently resettle in theUnited States to many thousands of Afghans and their immediate family members who may be at risk due to their United States affiliation,” it said.
The State Department said that the expanded eligibility will include Afghans who worked with US-based media organizations or non-governmental groups, or on initiatives backed by United States financing.
More Afghans who worked as interpreters or in other support jobs for US-led coalition forces but did not fulfill previous requirements will be let in, according to the State Department.
In response to the Taliban’s successes on the battlefield, the first batch of more than 200 interpreters was flown into the United States on Friday as part of Operation Allied Refuge. Unlike the interpreters, the United States claimed it had no plans to fly out the newly eligible Afghans right now.
Instead, they will need to find their own way out of Afghanistan and support themselves during the lengthy process.
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