US ‘rapidly’ planning to evacuate Afghan interpreters

US 'rapidly' planning to evacuate Afghan interpreters
An Afghan interpreter (right) helps an American soldier to question local residents in Afghanistan. File photo
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Daily US Times: The United States is “rapidly” making plans to evacuate Afghans who worked for the American forces, including interpreters, ahead of September’s troop pullout, a top general has said.

Gen Mark Milley, Joint Chiefs Chairman, said a “significant” number of interpreters and other employees could be targeted by Taliban militants.

As many as 18,000 Afghans have applied for US visas to immigrate to the US under a special programme.

But the programme has been hit by delays, with applicants waiting for years.

Gen Milley said in remarks his office released on Thursday: “We recognise that there are a significant amount of Afghans that supported the United States and supported the coalition, and that they could be at risk.”

“A very important task is to ensure that we remain faithful to them, and that we do what is necessary to ensure their protection and, if necessary, get them out of the country if that is what they want to do.”

Gen Milley said plans being developed very, very rapidly, and not just interpreters but a lot of other people that have worked with the US.

He added that the state department was overseeing the issue, without providing any further details.

In April, President Joe Biden said American military would leave by 11 September, after 20 years of military involvement in Afghanistan. “It is time to end America’s longest war,” Mr Biden said.

There are at least 2,500 US soldiers in the country as part of the 9,600-strong Nato Afghan mission.

US and Nato officials have recently said that the Taliban has so far failed to live up to commitments to reduce violence in Afghanistan.

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