After the Taliban had already seized power in Afghanistan, a group of 46 US senators urgently demanded special rules for the admission of Afghan women to the United States. In a letter to Secretary of State Anthony Blinken and Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mallorcas, the senators wrote that many women — such as politicians, activists, lawyers and journalists — were particularly at risk from the Taliban and needed help to leave the country. But many fell into the network of former US admissions programs.
The basics in brief
- The letter, dated Monday (local time), was signed mostly by Democratic senators, but also by individual Republicans.
In the past few weeks, the US government has begun issuing special immigrant visas to Afghans who have worked with Americans and bringing them to the United States. The goal is to rescue those affected by the hardline Islamist Taliban movement’s revenge after the withdrawal of US forces and the start of a new life in the United States. However, the scope is limited: according to the US government, a total of about 2,500 people are currently designated for admission to such special visas.
In addition, the United States intends to receive, through an expanded list, thousands of other Afghans who have worked in US government-supported programs or who have worked for US media and NGOs. For this program, they all have to leave the country on their own and stay in a third country for twelve months or more while their resettlement application is being processed.
In their letter, the senators warned that it was almost or completely impossible for the women to reach a third country, as all border crossings are now closed or controlled by the Taliban.
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