The State Department has granted tens of thousands of visas to Afghans who aided the U.S. government following the Biden administration’s withdrawal from Afghanistan in 2021, according to a Thursday report from the lead inspector general to the United States Congress.
The Biden administration withdrew all American forces from Afghanistan in 2021, leading to a widespread takeover of the region by the Taliban and the displacement of millions of Afghans, according to the Wilson Center. As part of the U.S. effort to bring in refugees escaping Afghanistan, the State Department has issued approximately 34,000 special immigrant visas (SIV) to Afghans and their immediate family members, according to the Inspector General report released Thursday. (RELATED: ‘Name Me A Single Objective … We Failed On,’ Biden Says During Anniversary Of Botched Afghanistan Withdrawal)
A SIV grants permanent residence to Afghans who helped the U.S. government in Afghanistan, according to the Immigration Forum. This can include assisting U.S. Armed Forces as a translator or interpreter, or working directly as an employee for the U.S. government.
15,500 Afghan SIVs were issued in the first six months of 2023 compared to roughly 9,000 during the first six months of 2022, and the State Department is currently processing 13,187 remaining applicants, according to the report. Aside from the SIV program, approximately 90,000 Afghan refugees have been resettled in the U.S. through Operation Allies Welcome, according to the State Department.
The full withdrawal from Afghanistan in August 2021 resulted in the deaths of 13 U.S. servicemembers in a suicide bombing at the Kabul airport. The Biden administration continues to maintain that withdrawing from Afghanistan was the “correct policy choice.”
“All the evidence – remember what I said about Afghanistan? I said we would get help from the Taliban,” President Joe Biden said in June. “Read your press. I was right.”
The Taliban subsequently took over Afghanistan in August 2021 as the governing regime and killed and tortured hundreds of Afghans who were part of the country’s former Army – those who have survived live in “a climate of fear,” according to the U.N. Assistance Mission in Afghanistan.
“Members of the de facto authorities continue to perpetrate, or fail to respond to, human rights violations that are carried out with apparent impunity,” UNAMA said.
The State Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.Republished with permission from The Daily Caller News Foundation.