Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Virginia Army Base Becomes Home for Afghan Asylum Seekers

Biden’s government said Monday it would evacuate some 2,500 Afghans working for the US government – as well as their families – to a military base in Virginia, pending approval of their visas.

The Biden administration informed Congress that starting next week the Afghans would be stationed at Fort Lee, a military base south of Richmond.

Earlier this month the Biden government announced it would soon relocate Afghans seeking US visas under an initiative known as “Operation Allies Regufe” or “Allied Protection Operations.”

The group of Afghans who will be stationed in Fort Lee is a small fraction of Afghans seeking refuge in the US. Some 20,000 people have shown interest in applying for the so-called “Immigrant Special Visa” to move to the US, but so far only half are in the process of being considered for relocation.

The announcement comes amid mounting concerns for the safety of Afghans who serve as interpreters and other support roles for American soldiers and diplomats as the Biden government quickly completes the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan.

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The announcement also comes just a day after the Taliban leader said his movement was committed to reaching a political settlement to end the decades-old war in Afghanistan.

But these insurgents have captured dozens of districts across Afghanistan.

Maulawi Hibatullah Akhunzada’s remarks came as Taliban leaders met with a high-level delegation from the Afghan government in Qatar to start stalled peace talks.

The discussion was continued last Saturday (17/7), ahead of the Eid al-Adha holiday, which in many countries is celebrated on Tuesday (20/7).

US Special Envoy for Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad, who is currently in Qatar, had earlier expressed hope for a reduction in violence and a possible ceasefire during Eid al-Adha. [em/lt]

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Virginia Army Base Becomes Home for Afghan Asylum Seekers
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