New US Refugee Program For Afghans Faces Considerable Challenges - Blinken

WASHINGTON (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 03rd August, 2021) A new US refugee program for Afghans who are not eligible for Special Immigrant Visas (SIVs) to the United States will face considerable challenges ahead, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Monday.

Earlier in the day, the State Department said the US administration is widening eligibility for priority refugee admission for thousands more Afghans who worked with US forces but are not eligible for the Special Immigrant Visas.

"A great deal of hard work has gone into this already, but even more lies ahead," Blinken told reporters. "There's a significant diplomatic, logistical and bureaucratic challenge."

The United States is currently focused on relocating 1,000 Afghan SIV applicants and their families, totaling some 4,000 people, Blinken said.

A second flight carrying Afghan interpreters arrived in the United States on Monday morning; some 400 Afghans have arrived in the country since Friday, Blinken said.

Over the last several months, Afghans who served as interpreters and in other roles for US forces have faced increasing threats from the Taliban. The United States promised to get all Afghan allies out of Afghanistan before the US withdrawal is expected to be done by August 31.