First group of evacuated Afghan interpreters to arrive in US

The first group of 2,500 interpreters and their families evacuated from Afghanistan is expected to arrive in the US on Thursday. They will stay at the Fort Lee Army Base near Washington DC to complete the Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) process.

Afghans who worked for the U.S. mission which began in 2001 and now face threats for that work are eligible for a special immigrant visa program for them and their families. Threats against Afghans who helped the US have risen amid Taliban advances. There are approximately 20,000 Afghans who have applied, plus their family members, according to a State Department spokesperson — although it’s unclear how many of them the administration plans to evacuate. So far, the administration has announced that some 750 Afghans who have already been approved and cleared security vetting will be brought to the U.S., along with their family members — 2,500 in total. They will be housed and provided temporary services at Fort Lee, a U.S. Army base in central Virginia, for seven to 10 days as they undergo medical exams and finish their application processing.

A second group of some 4,000 Afghan applicants, plus their family members, will also be housed overseas, possibly including at U.S. military installations, according to senior State Department officials. Since 2008, approximately 70,000 Afghans who have received SIVs have been resettled in the country, according to US officials.