Thousands of Afghans who helped the U.S. are trapped. What happens next?

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Politics|Thousands of Afghans who helped the U.S. are trapped. What happens next?

People waited astatine  aggregate  checkpoints to committee  1  of the past  commercialized  flights leaving Kabul, Afghanistan, connected  Sunday.
Credit...Kiana Hayeri for The New York Times

Miriam Jordan

Aug. 17, 2021Updated 11:08 a.m. ET

Tens of thousands of Afghan nationals risked their lives to assistance the United States subject successful Afghanistan, galore of them moving arsenic interpreters successful combat. Now, aft the Taliban’s takeover, they are hopeless to permission — but transition to the United States whitethorn beryllium elusive.

More than 300,000 Afghan civilians person been affiliated with the American ngo implicit its two-decade beingness successful the country, according to the International Rescue Committee, but a number suffice for exile extortion successful the United States.

About 2,000 specified radical whose cases already had been approved person arrived successful the United States connected evacuation flights from Kabul, the capital, that began successful July. President Biden said connected Monday while addressing the nation that determination were plans to airlift much Afghan families successful “coming days,” though helium provided nary details.

Refugee advocates said they feared that thousands of susceptible radical were apt to beryllium near behind, astatine their peril, arsenic militants tightened their grip connected Afghanistan’s territory.

Since 2002, the United States has employed Afghans to assistance U.S. troops, diplomats and assistance workers. Many were threatened, kidnapped and attacked, and an chartless fig killed, arsenic a effect of their relation with the United States. In response, Congress created the peculiar migrant visa programs to springiness specified workers a way to ineligible residency successful the United States.

But the programs, which bask wide bipartisan support, person been marred by processing delays.

Applicants indispensable amusement they person been employed for astatine slightest 2 years by the U.S. authorities oregon an associated entity. Among different paperwork, they indispensable beryllium they performed invaluable work by providing a proposal from an American supervisor. They indispensable besides amusement that they person experienced, oregon are experiencing, a superior menace arsenic a effect of their enactment for the United States.

More than 15,000 Afghan nationals, positive household members, person already been resettled successful the United States with peculiar migrant visas, retired of a full of 34,500 authorized visas.

At slightest 18,000 radical person applications pending, and that fig is expected to summation considerably fixed the deteriorating concern successful Afghanistan.

Critics accidental that the U.S. government, going backmost respective administrations, has delayed peculiar migrant visa approvals by demanding an bonzer magnitude of documentation arsenic portion of an unwieldy 14-step process.

Applicants person faced mean hold times of 3 years, though Congress had specified that it should instrumentality nary much than 9 months. Many person been waiting arsenic agelong arsenic a decennary for the result of their cases.

Special migrant visa recipients are eligible for the aforesaid resettlement benefits arsenic refugees. They get with greenish cards, and tin use for U.S. citizenship aft 5 years. But they are not classified arsenic refugees, nor bash they number against the fig of refugees that the United States commits to admitting each year.

The U.S. authorities since July has evacuated astir 2,000 interpreters and their household members whose cases had already been approved. They were brought from Kabul to the Fort Lee subject basal southbound of Richmond, Va., and galore person since been sent to cities crossed the country. But unit members from exile resettlement agencies were notified aft the latest formation landed connected Sunday that plans to evacuate much Afghans had been suspended.

Garry Reid, a civilian Pentagon authoritative charged with handling the evacuations, said connected Monday that 700 Afghan allies had been evacuated successful the erstwhile 48 hours. He said the United States would standard up by receiving much departing Afghans astatine U.S. subject bases, but helium did not connection a circumstantial timeline.

The Biden medication besides had been negotiating with respective countries successful the Middle East and Central Asia to temporarily big immoderate radical until they tin beryllium resettled successful the United States. But it was not wide whether it would adjacent beryllium imaginable to evacuate much Afghan allies, astatine slightest for now, fixed the volatility connected the ground.

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