US President Joe Biden on Thursday said that Afghan interpreters who helped American troops during the 20-year-long war in Afghanistan will not be abandoned to their fate when all US and coalition troops leave the country.
Responding to questions after a White House speech, Biden said, “Those who helped us are not going to be left behind ... They’re welcome here just like anyone else who risked their lives to help us.”
Biden added: “They are going to come. We’ve already begun the process. Those who helped us are not going to be left behind.”
The Associated Press reported on Thursday that the Biden administration plans to evacuate tens of thousands of Afghan interpreters and others who worked with US forces over the last two decades while their applications for US entry are processed.
The administration intends to carry out the evacuation later this summer, likely in August, according to a second official familiar with the deliberations but not authorized to discuss them publicly, the Associated Press reports.
According to the report, both officials added that no country or countries for the planned temporary relocation have been settled on.
“We are taking this seriously, here at the department and here in the United States government,” Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said on Thursday. “We know we have an obligation to these men and women and their families, and we’re working our way through how best to meet that obligation.”
He said that “planning is ongoing” in this respect.
“Lots of options available, both in terms of transportation, in terms of potential locations. And we’re just not there yet where I can specifically announce exactly how this is going to transpire,” he added.
Afghan interpreters and others who have worked with US and coalition forces have held many rallies over the last two months, demanding attention from the United States and other NATO allies to their safety once all troops leave Afghanistan.