The Biden administration enlarged its attempts to remove at-risk Afghan residents from Afghanistan on Monday as Taliban violence rises ahead of the US troop exit at the end of the month, the Biden administration increased its attempts to remove at-risk Afghan residents from Afghanistan on Monday.
The State Department said that current and past workers of U.S.-based news organizations, U.S.-based humanitarian and development agencies, and other relief organizations that receive U.S. financing are now eligible for refugee status in the United States. Employees of the United States government and NATO military operations who do not fit the requirements for a specific program for such workers are also covered.
According to the State Department, the decision will allow “many thousands” of Afghans and their families to be permanently relocated in the United States as refugees. It did not provide a more definite number of persons who would be eligible for elimination.
“The U.S. objective remains a peaceful, secure Afghanistan,” it said in a statement. “However, in light of increased levels of Taliban violence, the U.S. government is working to provide certain Afghans, including those who worked with the United States, the opportunity for refugee resettlement to the United States.”
The creation of a “Priority 2” category for Afghans within the US Refugee Admissions Program is intended for Afghans and their immediate families who “may be at risk due to their U.S. affiliation” but are unable to obtain a Special Immigrant Visa because they did not work directly for the US government or did not hold their government jobs for a long enough period of time.
Afghans must be nominated by a US government agency or by the most senior civilian U.S. citizen employee of a US-based media outlet or nongovernmental group to be considered for the Priority 2 category.
The first set of Afghan Special Immigrant Visa applicants to pass security vetting arrived in the United States on Friday. The majority of the candidates worked as interpreters or in other capacities for US troops or diplomats. The 221 persons are part of a group of 2,500 who will be taken to the United States in the coming days.
Another 4,000 SIV applicants, along with their families, are expected to be moved to third countries before the US exit is completed. Approximately 20,000 Afghans have indicated interest in participating in the program.