Kabul [Afghanistan], July 21 (ANI): The Biden administration on Monday said it would evacuate 2,500 Afghan visa seekers along with their families who worked for America during the war against the Taliban and would house them in a military base in Virginia till their visas get cleared.
The administration informed Congress that the Afghans will be housed at Fort Lee, a sprawling Army base south of Richmond starting next week, reported Tolo News.
The administration announced earlier this month that it would soon begin relocating Afghan visa seekers under an initiative known as "Operation Allies Refuge."
The group to be housed at Fort Lee is just a small portion of the number of Afghans seeking refuge in the United States. Roughly 20,000 have expressed interest in applying for so-called "Special Immigrant Visas" to move to the US, but only about half of them are far enough along in the vetting process to be considered for relocation, reported Tolo News.
"At President Joe Biden's direction, the Department of State is working to relocate interested, eligible Afghan nationals and their families who have been approved through the Special Immigrant Visa or SIV program," said State Department spokesperson Ned Price.
"As you heard from the president, approximately 2,500 Afghans and family members are currently eligible to finish special immigrant processing in the United States and will certainly provide more details as they become available."
The announcement comes amid growing concerns for the safety of Afghans who served as translators and in other support roles for American troops and diplomats as the administration rapidly moves to complete the withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan.
"We will continue to partner with the Afghan people, to partner with the Afghan government and support that diplomatic process that did receive a boost over the weekend from the joint declaration that was issued by the Afghan parties. Again, declarations are positive. What we are going to be looking for is the follow through and we expect to see that follow through in the coming days and weeks," Ned Price, added. (ANI)