U.S. to relocate some Afghan evacuees to Virginia military base

2021-07-19 22:05:45 GMT2021-07-20 06:05:45(Beijing Time) Xinhua English

WASHINGTON, July 19 (Xinhua) -- About 2,500 Afghans who helped the U.S. military in the two-decade war will be relocated to an army base in Virginia to complete their visa application process, the State Department said on Monday.

"The Department of Defense has agreed at the request of the Department of State to allow the use of Fort Lee, Virginia, as the initial relocation site for the pool of applicants who are closest to completing special immigrant processing," State Department spokesperson Ned Price told reporters in a daily briefing.

"Approximately 2,500 Afghans and family members are currently eligible to finish special immigrant processing in the United States," he added.

The White House said last week that some 20,000 Afghans had applied for Special Immigrants Visa (SIV), and the evacuation flights for eligible applicants out of the country will begin in the last week of July.

The Biden administration has been facing pressure from lawmakers to evacuate Afghans who helped the U.S. military and are vulnerable to Taliban reprisals.

President Joe Biden had ordered the U.S. military to end its mission in Afghanistan by Aug. 31, days ahead of his original Sept. 11 deadline. U.S. Central Command said last week over 95 percent of the withdrawal had been completed.

The security situation in the war-torn country has deteriorated as Taliban militants continue heavy fighting against government forces and gain ground since the drawdown of U.S. troops on May 1. Enditem