On Saturday, the Pentagon announced that 17,000 people have already been evacuated from Kabul. This comes since the Taliban took control of the country last week.
Included in this number were 2,500 Americans. However, officials acknowledged that a “small number” of them were beaten or harassed while attempting to go to the airport.
U.S. officials insist that the international airport remains “secure”
U.S. top officials talking to reporters insisted that the airport stays “secure” as the U.S. forces kept the gate; officials also say there are 5,800 troops holding the ground in securing the airport.
The scene at Kabul airport several hours ago per source from an NGO who is trying to get people out. Main problem is that it's impossible to pass the gates and get to the planes even if you are on an evacuees list pic.twitter.com/b3bZn5B34Z
— Barak Ravid (@BarakRavid) August 21, 2021
Within a span of 24 hours, six C-17 military planes and 32 charter planes have already flown out of the country, evacuating a total of 3,800 people. According to officials, out of these flights, three landed at the international airport in Virginia.
The number of flights came one week after the Taliban forces took control of the country and surged the capital a few weeks before the August 31 withdrawal deadline. This left Afghan allies and Americans scrambling on the scene, as some are desperate to apply for special immigrant visas.
The disaster resulted in massive political criticism against Biden and the White House, blaming the U.S. president for the botched withdrawal of troops in the U.S. However, Biden stood his ground in defending his decision; the president said the reason for the fall is because Afghan forces did not fight for themselves.
Afghan interpreter revealed how hard it is to secure a U.S. SIV visa
On the other hand, Moneer, an Afghan interpreter, revealed shocking news about the extremely slow processing of getting a Special Immigrant Visa from the U.S. government.
Moneer stated that over the past two decades, he has been assisting the U.S. forces in Afghanistan as an interpreter. He claimed that he has been attempting to secure an SIV visa, and his first attempt was back in 2013.
However, he was unsuccessful in his pursuit, as the State Department told him that his documents were phony. He declared that he appealed his case. However, up until this month, his appeal was still pending.
An important update from Moneer, an Afghan interpreter who served along U.S. forces in Afghanistan. https://t.co/2D0AiqRVlO
— pattyguerrad (@PattyGuerraD) August 16, 2021
Fortunately, his service to the British forces and NATO made him able to get a U.K. visa, which gave him a ticket out of the war-torn country earlier this month.
Moneer said the U.K. government could give him a visa a few weeks after his application, emphasizing how he wishes it was that easy to apply for a U.S. visa as well.
The Afghan interpreter noted how a colleague he worked with within the Green Beret helped him fly to Dubai, where he processed his U.K. visa. Now, he is safely in London.
However, he fears for the lives of his colleagues who likewise worked with the U.S. government, as well as his family and friends who are still stuck in Afghanistan.