Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Friday mentioned the “backlog” of Special Immigrant Visas (SIV) that accrued beneath the Trump administration is the cause why Afghan allies stay in the now-Taliban-controlled nation.
In reply to questions relating to why extra Afghan allies had not been evacuated prior to the U.S. withdrawal, Blinken mentioned “the program was mainly in a useless stall” when he acquired it.
The SIV program was established in order that Afghans who labored with the U.S. all through the 20-year lengthy struggle might to migrate to America.
TALIBAN FIGHTER TOLD EVACUEE ‘GO AND TELL THE STATE DEPARTMENT TO F— THEMSELVES,’ REPORT SAYS
“When we took workplace we inherited a backlog of greater than 17,000 SIV candidates,” he instructed reporters. “There had not been a single interview of an SIV applicant in Kabul in the 9 months prior to us taking workplace, going again to March 2020.”
But the secretary acknowledged that the coronavirus pandemic was a “main obstacle” to the program and that the congressionally mandated scheme didn’t operate effectively beneath an evacuation state of affairs.
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin earlier this week instructed reporters the program was “designed to be a sluggish course of.”
“The SIV program is clearly not designed to accommodate what we simply did, in evacuating over 100,000 folks,” he instructed reporters Wednesday.
“For the sort of operation we simply carried out, I believe we’d like a distinct type of functionality,” Austin added.
The visa system requires a 14-step course of that additionally depends on companies exterior of the State Department for visa approval.
Blinken didn’t reply whether or not any Americans have gotten out of Afghanistan since US troops withdrew. He mentioned the State Department is in common contact with Americans who’re in the country and wish to get out and that devoted groups are assigned to deal with their circumstances.
Blinken mentioned the administration began revamping the SIV program and initiating interviews inside two weeks of taking workplace.
Fifty folks had been reportedly added to the crew in Washington that processed purposes, and sources had been doubled in Kabul.
STATE DEPT. WON’T SAY WHAT HAPPENS TO AFGHAN EVACUEES WHO FAIL ‘RIGOROUS’ VETTING PROCESS
“We went from issuing about 100 Special Immigrant Visas each week in March to greater than 1,000 each week in August,” the secretary mentioned.
Operation Refuge Allies was then launched in July to begin the transportation of Americans and SIV holders from Afghanistan to the U.S.
Blinken mentioned the State Department might be reviewing the SIV program and what they’ve discovered from the mass evacuation of greater than 124,000 people from Afghanistan.
“We have…discovered via onerous expertise that the SIV course of was not designed to be completed in an evacuation emergency,” the secretary mentioned. “There are classes right here that we’d like to be taught and can be taught as our work continues.”
federpiemonte.org is world No#1 News Website please share with your friends and please do like and share this post on social media.
Blinken mentioned that the division will stay in “lively contact” with people who’re nonetheless caught in Afghanistan and can proceed to course of purposes and challenge visas as rapidly as potential.
“There’s completely no deadline on this work,” the secretary mentioned.
Fox News’ Jacqui Heinrich contributed to this report.