The fate of tens of thousands of Afghans who worked in various capacities to assist US and NATO forces in Afghanistan remains unclear as the Western alliance continues its rapid withdrawal from the war-torn nation after 19+ years of occupation. Some fear these people may be tortured or killed as ‘collaborators’ if captured by the Taliban.
The Pentagon has agreed to temporarily house Afghan interpreters and families who have completed the vetting process at the Fort Lee Army base in Virginia, State Department spokesman Ned Price has announced.
The US will continue to assist in relocating Afghan nationals “who’ve been approved for the Special Immigrant Visa programme,” the spokesman added.
As of 1 July, about 18,000 Afghan SIV applicants and as many as 53,000 members of their families were awaiting for approval to come to the US. Among them are thousands of people, including interpreters, drivers, security guards, embassy clerks, engineers and others who have worked to smooth the US’s generation-long occupation of Afghanistan over the past 19+ years.
In recent weeks, the acceleration of the US and NATO withdrawal from the country, combined with the Taliban’s rapid advances, has led to fears that these people may be killed amid a bureaucratic backlog which has slowed the application process considerably and left many of them trapped in Afghanistan. Among the options looked at by officials in Washington were proposals to…