The Biden administration said Thursday it will move thousands of interpreters and others who helped the United States in Afghanistan as the country withdraws its troops, The New York Times reports.
“Those who helped us are not going to be left behind,” Biden told reporters.
The administration plans to move the Afghans to other countries to keep them safe while they apply for entry to the US. The administration also plans to speed up the process of providing them special immigrant visas.
It’s unclear what countries they would be moved to or how many people would be involved. One location that has been floated is Guam, a US territory.
Defense Department spokesman John Kirby said that the administration is still working out the details.
“We’re committed to helping this departure from Afghanistan,” he said.
Up to 100,000:
More than 18,000 Afghans who worked as interpreters, drivers, engineers, security guards, and embassy clerks for the United States during its two-decade war in the country have applied for special immigrant visas.
Those applicants have about 53,000 family members.
The Pentagon is planning to move up to 100,000 people as part of the program, according to the report.
An administration official said that family members would also be relocated outside of Afghanistan while the visas are processed.
Biden meets with Afghan president:
The move was announced ahead of Biden’s meeting with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani on Friday.
The Biden administration plans to provide $3.3 billion in security assistance, $266 million in humanitarian aid, and a large number of coronavirus vaccines and equipment to the country as it prepared to withdraw.
But the government has already lost substantial control to the Taliban, which threatens a resurgence after the US pullout.