President Biden defended the U.S. military pullout from Afghanistan, claiming the U.S. met goals outlined 20 years ago, while pledging that his administration would evacuate thousands of Afghan interpreters from the country in August.
“I’m very encouraged by President Biden’s efforts to get our Afghan allies out of harm’s way, but I remain deeply concerned by the deteriorating conditions in Afghanistan,” said Senator Jeanne Shaheen.
The president said the U.S. would conduct flights in August to relocate interpreters and other Afghan allies of the U.S.
The administration has yet to determine where interpreters would be moved while they await approval to enter the U.S. “It is likely to be a mix of third countries and U.S. territory,” a senior administration official said. “For now, this is very much in progress.”
Officials said Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, and the U.S. territory of Guam are among the countries the U.S. is considering. The interpreters moved out of Afghanistan could be in those countries for years as they await a valid U.S. visa.
Officials estimated the number of Afghans who assisted the U.S. and who need to be evacuated at between 9,000 and 16,000. Advocates for the interpreters and others said they want additional details.
“President Biden’s announcement to evacuate interpreters from Afghanistan into third countries does not reassure us unless they provide specifics of how they will do it, and the data backs up their claims,” said James Miervaldis, board chairman of No One Left Behind, which works on behalf of Afghan and Iraqi interpreters.
Author: Restuccia, Andrew; Youssef, Nancy A.; Lucey, Catherine; et al.
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