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  4. The US told several Afghans to await relocation in Pakistan after escaping Taliban rule. Two years later, many are facing deportation.

The US told several Afghans to await relocation in Pakistan after escaping Taliban rule. Two years later, many are facing deportation.

Katie Hawkinson   

The US told several Afghans to await relocation in Pakistan after escaping Taliban rule. Two years later, many are facing deportation.
  • Several Afghan refugees in Pakistan who were promised relocation to the US are now facing deportation, CNN reports.
  • For Afghans who served the US military, returning to a Taliban regime could be a death sentence.

After the Taliban overthrew the Afghanistan government on August 15, 2021, hundreds of thousands of Afghans fled the country, fearing for their lives under the new regime. Thousands of them entered Pakistan, acting under American guidance to wait outside Afghanistan as their US visas were processed.

Now, nearly two years later, several Afghans who were promised relocation to the US are still in Pakistan — and time is running out as they face imminent threats of deportation, CNN reports.

Pakistan officials have deported at least 530 Afghans this year, according to CNN, and have made no exception for those awaiting Afghan Priority 2 or Special Immigrant Visas from the US State Department. Special Immigrant Visas in particular are for those who served the US military in Afghanistan, for whom returning to Taliban rule could be a death sentence.

One former US military contractor told CNN the Taliban "will punish me, they will put me in jail. Maybe they will kill me? I'm sure they will."

This crisis is in part because the US has not established a Resettlement Support Center in Pakistan to further support visa application processing, Haseeb Aafaq — a spokesman for volunteer group the Afghanistan Immigrants Refugees Council — told CNN.

Meanwhile, the State Department told the outlet in a statement that staff in Pakistan are actively working to expand their processing capacity. Since August 2021, 90,000 Afghans have resettled in the US.

This is not the first time Afghans who aided the US military have faced barriers to relocation. In the year following the Taliban takeover, the State Department denied visas for several interpreters who served the US military despite their lengthy employment and positive performance reviews.


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