US to relocate some Afghan evacuees to Virginia military base

A Bundeswehr soldier (L) and an interpreter (R) speak to a man near Afghanistan's Kunduz in the Chahar Dara district.

Washington, (Asian independent) About 2,500 Afghans who helped the US military in the two-decade war will be relocated to an army base in Virginia to complete their visa application process, the State Department said.

“The Department of Defense has agreed at the request of the Department of State to allow the use of Fort Lee, Virginia, as the initial relocation site for the pool of applicants who are closest to completing special immigrant processing,” State Department spokesperson Ned Price told reporters at a briefing on Monday.

“Approximately 2,500 Afghans and family members are currently eligible to finish special immigrant processing in the US,” he added.

The White House said last week that some 20,000 Afghans had applied for Special Immigrants Visa (SIV), and the evacuation flights for eligible applicants out of the country will begin in the last week of July, reports Xinhua news agency.

President Joe Biden’s administration has been facing pressure from lawmakers to evacuate Afghans who helped the US military and are vulnerable to Taliban reprisals.

President Biden had ordered the US military to end its mission in Afghanistan by August 31, days ahead of his original September 11 deadline.

The US Central Command said last week over 95 per cent of the withdrawal had been completed.

The security situation in the war-torn country has deteriorated as Taliban militants continue heavy fighting against government forces and gain ground since the drawdown of US troops on May 1.