An aircraft with 221 Afghans, including 72 children and babies on board, landed at Washington Dulles International Airport early Friday as part of the evacuation flights’ programme for Afghan interpreters and translators who aided the US military effort in Afghanistan, AP reports.
An internal US government document obtained by AP shows the evacuees are expected to stay several days at the Fort Lee Army Base near Washington, DC, to complete the process of Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) programme offered to people who cooperated with the US troops during the war in Afghanistan.
According to the US State Department claims last week, the total number of SIV applicants stands at more than 20,000 Afghans who worked with the US-led NATO and now fear revenge from the Taliban after the US troops’ withdrawal.
The Taliban beheaded in May an Afghan man who had worked as a translator for the US Army.
Although the US government already informed that 750 Afghans and 1,750 family members, who have already been approved and cleared security vetting, would be flown to the US, White House press secretary Jen Psaki declined to say how many Afghans would be evacuated during the first flight or their whereabouts later citing security concerns.
Meanwhile, US Army is in the process of moving soldiers out of on-post hotels and temporary lodging to IHG Army Hotels and elsewhere off Fort Lee to make room for temporary housing for the Afghan evacuees.