The United States House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly on Thursday to authorize eight,000 additional special visas for Afghans who served America at some stage in the occupation of Afghanistan, now coming to an end after twenty years.
The bill, which is now going to the United States Senate, would extend unique visa eligibility to families of Afghans who have been killed working for the US and to personnel of non-governmental firms.
The Taliban is threatening to take over Afghanistan after US and NATO forces leave at the end of August and have made battlefield advances across half the United States, seizing nearby districts and key border crossings amid gradual peace talks.
In “Operation Allies Safe Haven”, the US authorities are planning to evacuate as many as 20,000 Afghan interpreters, contractors, and safety personnel with their households to the United States, starting with about 2,500 Afghans who are to be flown to Fort Lee, a US army base inside the country of Virginia. Hundreds more are being lined up for evacuation to US bases in third countries as their immigration applications are processed.
The house invoice was backed by representative Jason Crow, a Democrat and former US Army Ranger who served in Iraq and Afghanistan and drew vast help from both Democrats and Republicans, passing by a vote of 407 to sixteen.
A coalition of more than 20 US news corporations sent letters to President Joe Biden, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, and contributors to Congress soliciting secure passage out of Afghanistan for Afghans who’ve been operating with the US media as reporters, interpreters, and aid personnel.
Now that American troops are retreating from Afghanistan, these individuals “fear retaliation from the Taliban for having courageously related themselves to the American press”, consistent with the media letters.
“They and their families face the identical threat of retaliation from the Taliban” as Afghans who labor for American military and government businesses.
The Taliban “perspectives the American press as a valid target” and “has long conducted a marketing campaign of threatening and killing journalists”, the letters said.
With President Biden’s help, a bipartisan organization inside the US Senate is getting ready to introduce comparable rules to amplify the US visa quota for Afghans and ease administrative requirements to expedite the program.
“The deteriorating situation in Afghanistan is alarming and underscores how precarious the situation is for people who are most at risk of the violence and oppression of the Taliban,” Senator Jeanne Shaheen, a leading Democrat, said in a declaration on July 19 in aid of the pending regulation.
The pinnacle US military officer, Joint Chiefs Chairman Mark Milley, said at the Pentagon on July 21 that armed Taliban opponents were regarded to have received “strategic momentum” towards forces of the Western-subsidized authorities in Kabul.
“What they’re trying to do is isolate the major population centers,” Milley said.
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