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‘Majority’ of Afghan Visa Applicants Left Behind in U.S. Withdrawal

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Evacuees wait to board a Boeing C-17 Globemaster III during an evacuation at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, August 30, 2021. (U.S. Marine Corps/Staff Sgt. Victor Mancillal/Handout via Reuters)

A “majority” of Afghan interpreters and other visa applicants were left behind in the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, a senior State Department official told the Wall Street Journal on Wednesday.

Over 20,000 Afghans who helped the U.S. during the two-decade war in Afghanistan applied for Special Immigrant Visas as of August 15, with that number ballooning to 100,000 if you include family members. Many Afghans were reportedly turned away at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul over the last several weeks, where overcrowding, Taliban security checkpoints, and a terrorist attack hindered the evacuation.

The State Department official said initial reports indicated that most Afghan SIV and other visa applicants were not able to evacuate.

“Everybody who lived it is haunted by the choices we had to make and by the people we were not able to help,” the official told the Journal.

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While the U.S. helped evacuate over 100,000 people from Afghanistan during the

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