US pushing to relocate thousands of Afghans in Qatar: report
The U.S. is pushing to relocate thousands of Afghans as the Taliban continues to hinder the safety of citizens in the country, a source familiar with the situation told CNN.
The source said a deal between the countries is not finalized, but there could be as many as 8,000 Afghans going to Qatar if it is.
The first group of Afghans would head to Qatar “soon” with only 1,000 to 2,000 people entering Doha to start, the source told CNN.
“We are evaluating all available options. We have no announcements to make on third country relocation sites for Afghan SIV applicants,” a State Department spokesperson told The Hill in a statement, referring to special immigrant visas.
The Biden administration said Thursday there would be 1,000 U.S. troops going to Qatar to help process applications from Afghans already in the country. The Afghans are seeking visas to the U.S. for assisting the U.S. during the war.
The situation in Afghanistan has been rapidly deteriorating since the U.S. has started pulling troops from the country; the Taliban has taken over 17 provincial capitals thus far.
“We are certainly concerned by the speed with which the Taliban has been moving,” Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said in a Friday news briefing.
“We’re obviously watching this just like you’re watching this and seeing it happen in real time, and it’s deeply concerning,” Kirby added. “This is a moment for the Afghans to unite, the leadership and the military. No outcome has to be inevitable.”
The Biden administration is still insisting on pulling U.S. troops out of Afghanistan by the end of August despite the criticism it has faced for doing so.
The Hill has reached out to the White House for comment.