Washington in talks with Kuwait about relocation of Afghan allies

Published July 30, 2021
Kuwaiti Foreign Minister Sheikh Ahmad Nasser Al-Mohammad Al-Sabah and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken hold a joint news conference at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Kuwait City on July 29. — Reuters
Kuwaiti Foreign Minister Sheikh Ahmad Nasser Al-Mohammad Al-Sabah and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken hold a joint news conference at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Kuwait City on July 29. — Reuters

DUBAI: The United States is negotiating with Kuwait and other countries whether they can host Afghans who supported the American war effort and could face Taliban revenge attacks if they stay in Afghanistan, America’s top diplomat said on Thursday.

During a visit to tiny, oil-rich Kuwait, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken did not announce any deal or disclose critical details about the process, such as who would be eligible for relocation or where they would be housed. As American troops complete their withdrawal from Afghanistan, the Biden administration has come under heavy pressure to quickly evacuate Afghan interpreters, drivers and other workers who helped US forces during the two-decade war and now find themselves at risk of retribution by the Taliban.

The United States is committed to helping those who helped us during our time in Afghanistan over the last 20 years, Blinken said at a joint press conference with his Kuwaiti counterpart. Were actively engaged in that process and notably in relocation planning for those brave Afghans and their families.” The evacuation planning, which could affect tens of thousands of Afghans, comes as the Taliban gain more ground throughout Afghanistan, seizing swaths of the countryside and fueling fears of a violent future. Civilian casualties surged in the first half of the year, according to a United Nations report.

Afghan allies have complained of a bureaucratic nightmare as they try to obtain the special immigrant visas offered to foreign nationals deemed to be in need of protection because of their cooperation with the US government.

Published in Dawn, July 30th, 2021

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