June 24, 2021
The United States is accelerating plans to relocate tens of thousands of Afghans who helped American forces during the nearly 20-year war in Afghanistan.
A senior administration official told reporters Thursday that plans have accelerated in recent days to move Afghan interpreters and others who assisted U.S. forces, and their families, as their applications are organized.
The official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the undisclosed plans, said the White House started briefing lawmakers Wednesday on the outlines.
“We are planning for all contingencies so that we are prepared for all scenarios,” the official said. “Should it become necessary, we will consider additional relocation or evacuation options.”
The White House decision to hasten plans to relocate Afghans to other countries or U.S. territories comes as U.S. President Joe Biden meets in Washington Friday with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah, chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation.
In April, Biden ordered the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan by September 11, the 20th anniversary of the al-Qaida attacks on the U.S., despite the growing threat by Taliban rebels to seize power.
Since May, Taliban rebels have escalated attacks and seized dozens of districts in the Afghan countryside, sparking concerns the insurgents could gain control of Kabul as it did in 1996.
This report includes information from The Associated Press and AFP