Abdul Wahid Forozan, a former translator for the American military in Afghanistan, holds a sign during a rally near the White House in July 2021. Associated Press “Operation Allies Refuge” is setting up flights for Afghans who helped the US military during the nearly two-decade war. The flights are set to start at the end of July.
Taliban militants are making gains as US forces pullout, sparking fears they will torture or kill fellow Afghans. The Biden Administration will start offering evacuation flights to Afghans who helped the US military during the nearly 20-year war. The “Operation Allies Refuge” flights will start at the end of July, the official said. Special immigrant visa applicants applying for US residency will be on the first flights out.
An announcement on the flights, Ambassador Tracey Jacobson will be leading a task force that will “deliver on the President’s commitment under Operation Allies Refuge,” and that the task force will also include representatives from the Department of Homeland Security and Defense Department. Taliban militants are making gains across the country as US forces pullout, sparking fears they will torture or kill fellow Afghans who translated for US forces, worked on their bases or otherwise assisted the NATO coalition. Potentially tens of thousands of Afghans are seeking special immigrant visas to go to the US, with categories for those who worked as translators or interpreters as well as those generally employed by the US or on its behalf. Interpreters took on heightened risks by accompanying NATO troops on missions and using their knowledge of local customs and languages.
Former President George W. Bush warned that the US pullout — coming nearly 20 years after his administration ordered the first combat troops into Afghanistan — would lead to “unspeakable harm” against Afghanistan’s women and girls; the Taliban has opposed education for women and schools that girls attend have been a target for terror attacks, such as a May bomb attack that left 90 dead.