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US to issue more SIVs for former Afghan allies

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Kabul: Under an agreement between the Biden administration and Republicans in Congress, more visas are being issued to Afghans who collaborated with the United States.

It is anticipated that by August, 38,500 special visas will be granted to Afghans, with an additional 12,000 visas being issued under this new arrangement. Michael McCaul, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, noted that while the new agreement allows for an additional 12,000 visas, both the Biden administration and Republican senators had initially sought 20,000 new visas. However, with the immigrant visa program set to expire in 2026, it has been observed that the number of additional visas falls short of the demand from former Afghans who worked alongside the US government.

Some unnamed American officials informed Reuters that as of March 1st, over 80,000 Afghans were awaiting visa issuance, with one-fourth having been invited for final interviews.

This move to increase visa issuance for Afghan allies coincides with documented reports of hundreds of former government security officials and soldiers being detained, tortured, and killed since the Taliban’s seizure of power in Afghanistan. The heightened issuance of visas amid reports of atrocities underscores the pressing need to address the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan.

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