The United States is launching an operation to evacuate Afghans who helped US troops during the war in Afghanistan and are facing threats to their lives from the Taliban, the Biden administration announced on Wednesday.
Flights out of Afghanistan for those who are already in the process of obtaining special immigrant visas (SIVs) will start in the last week of July, The Hill quoted a senior administration official said in a statement.
No further details on when the evacuations will start will be released, the statement said, citing "operational security." Officials also did not say where the Afghans would be sent.
"At President Joe Biden's direction, the United States is launching Operation Allies Refuge to support relocation flights for interested and eligible Afghan nationals and their families who have supported the United States and our partners in Afghanistan and are in the SIV application pipeline," the official said.
"As the President made clear, the United States remains confident that Afghanistan's Armed Forces have the tools and capability to defend their country and that the conflict will ultimately have to be resolved at the negotiating table," the official added.
Afghanistan has witnessed a spike in violence in Afghanistan as the Taliban has intensified its offensive against civilians and Afghan security forces with the complete pullback of foreign forces just a few weeks away.
The withdrawal is about 95 percent done, U.S. Central Command said this week. One of the last major steps in the withdrawal happened Monday when Gen. Scott Miller, who was the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, left his command.
Meanwhile, the United Nations has expressed concern with the number of reported "serious human rights abuses" and violations alleged in communities most affected by the ongoing military offensive across the country.