Evacuated Afghans, Hoping To Resettle In U.S., Face Extended Limbo In Third Countries

In mid-August, Ahmad got an urgent call from his nephew, Zia, telling him to come immediately to Kabul airport to try to get on an evacuation flight.

Members of the Taliban had been to Ahmad’s house in the capital looking for Zia, who had worked with the U.S. military in Afghanistan. They also wanted Ahmad, who was not at home at the time, to report to the police station, Zia told him.

Ahmad, 43, worried he would be arrested or executed because of his nephew’s involvement with the U.S. military, which flew out its last remaining troops this week in a chaotic withdrawal, formally ending a 20-year war.

Ahmad went to the airport with his wife and six children but got separated from them in the crowds at the entrance gates, he said. He showed officials a photo of his nephew’s green card on his phone and told them he was a member of his family. That was enough to get him – alone – on a plane to the U.S.-allied Gulf Arab state of Qatar, he said.

Following the scramble to evacuate vulnerable Afghans, thousands of people, some with no documentation or pending U.S. visa applications, others in families with mixed immigration statuses, are now waiting in “transit hubs” in third countries. The hubs include U.S. military bases in Qatar, Germany and Italy where Afghans must overcome bureaucratic immigration hurdles to eventually enter the United States.

“I am so disturbed about leaving them,” Ahmad said by phone, speaking through an interpreter about his wife, five daughters and 2-year-old son, who are now in hiding.

Ahmad spoke on condition he be identified only by his first name to protect his family.

Army General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said on Wednesday there were about 43,000 evacuees in nine countries in Europe and the Middle East, and some 20,000 Afghans at eight military bases in the United States.

At the U.S. military base in Qatar, people line up for hours for food, fearful that there won’t be enough to go around, said Ahmad. He has only the clothes he arrived in, which quickly became sweat-drenched in the 100-degree Fahrenheit (38-degree Celsius) heat.

His nephew, Zia, is a U.S. permanent resident so was able to fly to Seattle, Washington, with his wife and five children – three of whom had pending visa applications but no visas – after two weeks in Qatar. Ahmad and another nephew, who have only Afghan identity documents, remain.

U.S. officials took their fingerprints on Tuesday but have given them no updates on when they might board a flight to the United States. They don’t have pending Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) applications, Ahmad said.

Some evacuees without visas have been allowed into the United States temporarily on urgent humanitarian grounds, rather than under the traditional refugee program.

SIVs are available to certain Afghans who aided U.S. forces as interpreters and translators, as well as in other roles, and who fear reprisals by the Taliban.

A White House official said the U.S. government is “surging resources” to bases abroad to screen those hoping to enter the United States.

Much is still unclear to refugee groups, immigration lawyers and individual Afghans about how long some people may have to wait overseas as checks on their applications move forward.

The immigration bureaucracy is “cumbersome and there is a lot of complexity to it,” said Steve Miska, a former White House official who is helping coordinate evacuation efforts by non-profit and veterans groups.

Advocates have long criticized the slow-moving, multi-step SIV application process, which has left many petitions languishing without resolution for years. Refugee groups said the delays are unjustified because SIV applicants have extensive documentation of their work with U.S. entities and pose no national security threat.

For Afghans like Ahmad who have no pending visa applications, the groups said the U.S. government could draw on its experience vetting refugees and asylum seekers who often cross borders without documents, to allow their passage to the United States.

Many of these Afghans had their fingerprints and photos collected over the years, either by U.S. government officials or Afghan authorities who shared information with the United States.

“The U.S. can figure out who people are, but this takes time and resources and whether the U.S. government is going to bother to help people or force the people themselves to meet an impossible burden,” said Margaret Stock, a military and immigration expert.


In addition to the Afghans at U.S. military installations abroad, there are thousands of Afghans who were evacuated in a flurry of improvised privateefforts organized by non-profit groups, companies and veterans’ associations.

“That’s an entire category of refugees I am not sure our government has visibility on,” Miska said. “Those are the ones I am really nervous about,” since they might struggle to lodge petitions to enter the United States.

Around 3,500 Afghans were brought to the United Arab Emirates on charter flights by a U.S. nonprofit, according to a diplomat familiar with the situation.

These Afghans are not being processed to go to the United States, the diplomat said, as Washington is prioritizing the roughly 4,000 people in the UAE evacuated on U.S. government flights. The diplomat said it is expected to take months to process all these evacuees.

The groups that leveraged personal connections and raised private donations to charter flights out of Afghanistan may lack the expertise to help people navigate the complex U.S. immigration system, said Miska, the former White House official.

Many Afghans now find themselves in unfamiliar countries with no clear idea of where they will be able to permanently settle.

Albania accepted a couple hundred staff members and Afghans affiliated with the Open Society Foundation, a philanthropic organization founded by billionaire George Soros, said Laura Silber, a vice president for the group.

She said the organization was trying to help their staff as they consider whether to apply for visas or resettlement in the United States or elsewhere.

Albanian officials have welcomed the evacuees – many of whom only had national identity cards and no passports – and put them up in a local beach resort.

Some who made it on to evacuation flights are haunted by the idea they could have brought along more relatives.

“I feel so guilty,” said Zia’s wife, Tahera, now in Seattle. “What if I could have gotten them out?”

83 thoughts on “Evacuated Afghans, Hoping To Resettle In U.S., Face Extended Limbo In Third Countries”

  1. Thanks for the strategies you discuss through your blog. In addition, numerous young women who seem to become pregnant tend not to even try to get health insurance because they fear they might not qualify. Although many states today require that insurers produce coverage no matter what about the pre-existing conditions. Premiums on these guaranteed options are usually higher, but when considering the high cost of medical treatment it may be a safer strategy to use to protect your current financial potential.

  2. My spouse and I stumbled over here coming from
    a different web page and thought I may as well check things out.

    I like what I see so i am just following you. Look forward
    to going over your web page repeatedly.

  3. Definitely believe that which you stated. Your favorite justification appeared to
    be on the net the simplest thing to be aware of. I say to you,
    I definitely get irked while people think about worries that they just
    do not know about. You managed to hit the nail upon the top and also defined out the whole
    thing without having side effect , people can take a signal.
    Will probably be back to get more. Thanks

  4. Hi to every one, the contents existing at this web site are in fact awesome for people experience, well, keep up the nice work fellows.

  5. Oh my goodness! Impressive article dude! Many thanks, However I am experiencing difficulties with your RSS.
    I don’t understand why I am unable to subscribe to it. Is there anybody getting the
    same RSS problems? Anyone that knows the solution can you kindly respond?

  6. I enjoy what you guys tend to be up too. This kind of clever work and coverage!

    Keep up the good works guys I’ve included you guys to our blogroll.

  7. Your style is very unique in comparison to other people I have read stuff from.
    Thank you for posting when you’ve got the opportunity, Guess I’ll
    just bookmark this site.

  8. Superb blog you have here but I was curious about if you knew of any discussion boards
    that cover the same topics discussed here?
    I’d really like to be a part of community where I can get comments from other experienced individuals that
    share the same interest. If you have any suggestions, please
    let me know. Kudos!

  9. Everything is very open with a clear clarification of the issues.
    It was definitely informative. Your website is useful.
    Thank you for sharing!

  10. I’m not sure where you are getting your information, but good topic.
    I needs to spend some time learning much more or understanding more.
    Thanks for excellent info I was looking for this information for my

  11. Appreciating the commitment you put into your site and detailed information you present.
    It’s good to come across a blog every once in a while that isn’t the same out of date rehashed
    material. Wonderful read! I’ve bookmarked your site and I’m including your RSS feeds to my Google account.

  12. You are so awesome! I don’t believe I have read through anything like that before.
    So great to find someone with some unique thoughts on this
    issue. Seriously.. thanks for starting this up. This website is something that is required
    on the web, someone with a bit of originality!

  13. Someone necessarily lend a hand to make severely posts I’d state.
    This is the very first time I frequented your website page and up to
    now? I surprised with the research you made to create this particular put up extraordinary.

    Great job!

  14. Hey there! Someone in my Myspace group shared this site
    with us so I came to give it a look. I’m definitely loving the information. I’m book-marking and will be tweeting this to my
    followers! Superb blog and amazing design.

  15. What’s Going down i’m new to this, I stumbled upon this I have discovered It absolutely helpful and it has aided me out loads.
    I hope to give a contribution & help other users like its
    helped me. Good job.

  16. I have read several excellent stuff here. Definitely worth bookmarking for revisiting.
    I surprise how much attempt you place to make one of these magnificent informative site.

  17. It’s awesome to pay a quick visit this web
    site and reading the views of all friends regarding this post, while I am also keen of
    getting knowledge.

  18. Undeniably believe that which you said. Your favorite reason seemed to be on the internet the simplest thing to
    be aware of. I say to you, I certainly get annoyed while people consider worries that they plainly do not know about.
    You managed to hit the nail upon the top and defined out the whole thing without having side effect , people could
    take a signal. Will probably be back to get more.

  19. Your mode of describing the whole thing in this piece
    of writing is actually good, every one be capable of without difficulty
    be aware of it, Thanks a lot.

  20. With havin so much content do you ever run into any problems
    of plagorism or copyright violation? My blog has a lot
    of completely unique content I’ve either authored myself or outsourced but it seems a lot of it is popping it
    up all over the web without my agreement.
    Do you know any ways to help stop content from being ripped
    off? I’d definitely appreciate it.

  21. I want to to thank you for this excellent read!!

    I certainly loved every little bit of it. I have got you book marked to check out new stuff you post…

  22. Hey there would you mind stating which blog platform you’re using?
    I’m looking to start my own blog in the near future but I’m
    having a tough time making a decision between BlogEngine/Wordpress/B2evolution and
    Drupal. The reason I ask is because your layout seems different then most blogs and I’m looking
    for something completely unique.
    P.S My apologies for being off-topic but I had to ask!

  23. Woah! I’m really loving the template/theme of this website.
    It’s simple, yet effective. A lot of times it’s very hard to get that “perfect balance” between superb usability and
    appearance. I must say you’ve done a excellent job
    with this. Also, the blog loads very quick for me on Chrome.
    Superb Blog!

  24. It’s perfect time to make some plans for the future and it’s time to be happy.
    I have read this post and if I could I wish to suggest you some interesting things or advice.
    Perhaps you could write next articles referring to this article.

    I wish to read even more things about it!

  25. I’m curious to find out what blog platform you have been utilizing?

    I’m experiencing some minor security problems with my latest blog
    and I’d like to find something more safe.
    Do you have any recommendations?

  26. I do not know whether it’s just me or if perhaps everyone else encountering problems with your website.

    It appears as if some of the written text on your content are running off the screen. Can someone
    else please provide feedback and let me know if this is happening to them
    too? This could be a problem with my browser because
    I’ve had this happen previously. Cheers

  27. Hi, i think that i saw you visited my site thus
    i came to “return the favor”.I am trying to find things to improve my website!I suppose its ok to use a
    few of your ideas!!

  28. Have you ever thought about publishing an e-book or guest authoring
    on other sites? I have a blog based upon on the same information you discuss and
    would really like to have you share some stories/information. I know my subscribers
    would value your work. If you are even remotely interested, feel free to shoot me an e mail.

  29. Please let me know if you’re looking for a article author for your weblog.

    You have some really good posts and I think I would be a good asset.
    If you ever want to take some of the load off, I’d absolutely love to write some content for your
    blog in exchange for a link back to mine. Please send me an email
    if interested. Thanks!

  30. Aw, this was a very nice post. Taking a few minutes and actual effort to create a great article… but what can I say… I put things off a whole lot and never
    seem to get anything done.

  31. Everything is very open with a very clear description of the issues.

    It was really informative. Your site is extremely helpful.
    Thank you for sharing!

  32. Hi, Neat post. There’s a problem together with your site in web explorer, could test this?
    IE still is the market chief and a big element of other folks will omit your great writing because of this problem.

  33. Aw, this was an extremely good post. Finding the time and actual effort to generate a
    good article… but what can I say… I hesitate a whole lot and don’t seem to get nearly anything done.

  34. Valuable information. Fortunate me I found your website by
    chance, and I am shocked why this twist of fate didn’t happened earlier!
    I bookmarked it.

  35. It’s amazing to visit this website and reading the views of
    all friends on the topic of this post, while I am also eager of
    getting knowledge.

  36. My family members all the time say that I am wasting my time here at web,
    except I know I am getting experience daily by reading such good articles.

  37. Hi there! Do you know if they make any plugins to protect against
    hackers? I’m kinda paranoid about losing everything I’ve worked hard
    on. Any suggestions?

  38. Undeniably believe that which you said. Your favorite reason seemed to be on the internet the easiest thing to be aware
    of. I say to you, I definitely get annoyed while people consider worries
    that they just do not know about. You managed to hit the nail upon the top
    and also defined out the whole thing without having side effect ,
    people could take a signal. Will likely be back to get more.

  39. Definitely imagine that which you stated. Your favourite justification appeared to
    be at the web the easiest factor to bear in mind of.
    I say to you, I definitely get annoyed at the same time as other people think about worries that they plainly don’t recognise about.
    You controlled to hit the nail upon the top as smartly as outlined
    out the whole thing without having side-effects , people could take
    a signal. Will probably be back to get more. Thanks

  40. I was recommended this web site via my cousin. I’m not sure whether or not this
    submit is written via him as no one else recognise such exact about
    my problem. You are incredible! Thank you!

  41. Heya! I just wanted to ask if you ever have any trouble with hackers?
    My last blog (wordpress) was hacked and I ended up losing months of hard work due to no
    backup. Do you have any methods to protect against hackers?

  42. I’m not sure exactly why but this weblog is loading incredibly slow
    for me. Is anyone else having this problem
    or is it a issue on my end? I’ll check back later on and see if the problem still exists.

  43. Nice post. I was checking continuously this blog and I’m impressed!
    Very helpful information specifically the last part 🙂 I care for such info much.
    I was looking for this certain information for a long time.
    Thank you and good luck.

  44. Wow that was strange. I just wrote an incredibly long comment but
    after I clicked submit my comment didn’t appear.
    Grrrr… well I’m not writing all that over again. Regardless, just
    wanted to say superb blog!

  45. Great blog here! Also your web site loads up very fast!
    What host are you using? Can I get your affiliate
    link to your host? I wish my web site loaded up as fast as yours lol

  46. of course like your web site however you have to
    check the spelling on several of your posts. Many of them are rife with spelling problems and I in finding it very
    bothersome to inform the reality then again I’ll certainly come again again.

  47. Having read this I believed it was really enlightening.
    I appreciate you finding the time and energy to put this article together.
    I once again find myself personally spending a significant amount of time both reading and leaving comments.
    But so what, it was still worthwhile!

  48. I believe this is one of the so much important information for me.
    And i’m satisfied studying your article. But should observation on few common things, The web site taste
    is ideal, the articles is in point of fact excellent : D.
    Excellent activity, cheers

  49. Does your website have a contact page? I’m having problems locating
    it but, I’d like to send you an e-mail. I’ve got some
    ideas for your blog you might be interested in hearing.
    Either way, great site and I look forward to seeing it expand over time.

  50. Excellent post. I used to be checking continuously this blog and I am inspired!

    Very helpful information specifically the ultimate phase 🙂 I take care of
    such info much. I was looking for this certain info for a very long time.
    Thanks and best of luck.

  51. Howdy just wanted to give you a quick heads up.
    The words in your content seem to be running off the screen in Firefox.

    I’m not sure if this is a format issue or something to do with browser compatibility but I figured I’d post to let you know.
    The design look great though! Hope you get the issue fixed soon. Kudos

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

%d bloggers like this: