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Thursday, 23 September 2021

US expected to announce start of evacuation of Afghan visa applicants: Sources

The sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the announcement likely would be made on Wednesday and that the operation would involve chartered civilian aircraft

Reuters , Wednesday 14 Jul 2021
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The Biden administration is expected to announce soon the start of "Operation Allies Refuge," a plan to evacuate Afghan translators seeking U.S. visas after working alongside the U.S. military for years, five sources told Reuters on Wednesday.

The sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the announcement likely would be made on Wednesday and that the operation would involve chartered civilian aircraft.

The White House and the State Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

A senior administration official said the flights would begin in the last week of this month, but other details would be withheld for "operational security."

It is expected that the initial evacuees will include Afghans who worked for the U.S. government who are waiting for their applications to be processed.

A State Department unit coordinating the evacuations will be run by veteran Ambassador Tracey Jacobson and include representatives from the Departments of Defense and Homeland Security, the official said.

Meanwhile, Deputy Homeland Security Adviser Russ Travers will coordinate an interagency policy process related to the evacuations.

President Joe Biden's administration has faced pressure to provide security for Afghans who aided Washington as it ends its two-decade war in the country by the end of August.

Taliban fighters hostile to those workers have seized control of major border crossings and land in the country in recent weeks as U.S. troops have withdrawn.

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