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US expected to announce start of evacuation of Afghan visa applicants

  • A senior administration official said the flights would begin in the last week of this month
Updated 14 Jul 2021

WASHINGTON: The Biden administration is expected to announce soon the start of "Operation Allies Refuge," a plan to evacuate Afghan translators seeking US visas after working alongside the US 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.

More than 1,000 Afghan troops flee into Tajikistan

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 US 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.

Afghan Taliban seize border crossing with Pakistan

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.

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