We’ve been pushing the Biden administration for months to do something to save the Afghan interpreters and other people who worked as brothers in arms for our side in the fight against the Taliban.
The interpreters and their families are facing the threat of being killed by the Taliban as the United States withdraws from the country and the Taliban seizes more and more land. Some have already been killed by the Taliban.
It’s something that Biden should have dealt with months ago, and now he seems to be running to try to catch up, as the window of opportunity is closing fast. Biden disputed the U.S. intelligence reports that once we pulled out the Taliban were likely to take over the country within the year. But the Taliban are already claiming they have most of the country. That is not great news after 20 years and it makes it harder to be able to save the allies.
There’s some good news.
Biden officials have announced that they will be letting about 2500 people, 700 Afghan interpreters and their family, into the country to stay at a military base. The base recommended by the DOD is Fort Lee, in Virginia, until their Special Immigrant Visas are finished being processed. They are anticipated to only have to stay on the base for a few days while finishing the SIV process. These are the people who are furthest along in the process and who have already been vetted for safety. They will also get medical exams before they are finished with the process. So that’s great news that we are holding up our commitments to those people and saving their lives from pretty much certain death by the Taliban.
But that’s just the start. According to NBC, there are about 18,000 more who need visas, and that’s not counting family members. The administration has said that those people who are not as far along in the process will be sent to third party countries in the interim and not evacuated directly to the United States. But it’s not clear if they have decided on those countries yet. Also some of those people may be in areas taken over by the Taliban now, so whether they can get out is a question.
So there’s good news, and it looks like some are getting to safety, but the clock is still ticking and hopefully they get the rest out.