Washington, Aug 2 (EFE).- The United States Department of State announced Monday it will expand its refugee program to receive Afghan people fleeing Taliban violence, only weeks before the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan is completed.
The program’s expansion will benefit “many thousands of Afghans and their immediate family members who may be at risk due to their US affiliation but who are not eligible for a special immigrant visa,” the Department of State said in a statement.
“In light of increased levels of Taliban violence, the U.S. government is working to provide certain Afghans, including those who worked with the United States, the opportunity for refugee resettlement to the United States,” the statement said.
The creation of the “Priority 2” designation will provide an opportunity to permanently resettle in the US to Afghan nationals who worked as journalists for US-based media or assisted American NGOs in the region.
It is also open to Afghan nationals who worked or work for US government-funded projects in Afghanistan supported through US government grants or cooperative agreements.
The program is mostly aimed at offering a way out to Afghan locals who aided US troops and diplomats but did not serve the minimum time needed to be granted a special visa.
These include contractors and their employees, locally employed staff, and interpreters and translators for US and NATO troops. EFE