Despite announcing the US troop withdrawal in May, the Biden administration did not launch efforts to relocate Afghans who helped American forces until late July.
The Joe Biden administration did not bother with planning the evacuation of Afghans who helped NATO and applied for American visas to escape the Taliban’s* retaliation when it was preparing the withdrawal, several US lawmakers, as well as anonymous officials, shared with Politico.
The accounts of several anonymous Pentagon officials show that Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin was not ready to answer lawmakers’ questions regarding the evacuation of Afghans, mostly interpreters, when he discussed the withdrawal plans at a classified briefing in April. Months afterwards, the US troop withdrawal was launched, but not the evacuation effort.
The latter was launched late in July with the first plane carrying 200 special immigrant visa (SIV) applicants, with 700 more applicants awaiting extraction and roughly 2,500 family members arriving on 30 July at Dulles airport. Around 20,000 more applicants and their families’ members are still expecting the completion of background checks. Many of them have to go to Kabul to submit documents repeatedly, each time risking their lives as the Taliban tries to tighten its grip around the capital.
The Biden administration was caught off guard with the need to urgently evacuate so many Afghan civilians, who have already received…