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As the United States enters the final phase of withdrawing the military from Afghanistan, the Biden administration says it will evacuate Afghans who worked with U.S. troops.
“Those who helped us are not going to be left behind,” President Biden told reporters on Thursday. Afghans who worked as interpreters and contractors have shared their concerns that once the U.S. is out of Afghanistan, they might be hurt or killed by the Taliban. There is a special immigration visa program for these Afghans, but it moves slowly — some applicants have been waiting for years — and lawmakers and veterans of the Afghanistan war have voiced their worries over how long the process can take.
Biden, who will meet with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani at the White House on Friday, told reporters he does not know where the Afghans will be relocated to, but the U.S. has “already begun the process” of offering assistance.
Many advocates say the Afghans should be able to settle in the U.S. territory of Guam as they wait for their applications to be processed, and Guam’s governor has said they would be welcome on the island. “This is America’s responsibility, we don’t need to outsource to another country,” Chris Purdy, project manager of the Veterans for Americans Ideals program at Human Rights First, told NBC News.