The White House said that US President Joe Biden allocated up to US$100 million from an emergency fund on Friday to meet the “unexpected and urgent” refugee needs caused by the situation in Afghanistan, including applicants for special immigration visas for Afghanistan.

The White House stated that Biden also authorized the release of $200 million in services and goods from the inventory of US government agencies to meet the same demand.

The United States is preparing to begin the evacuation of thousands of Afghans who have applied for special immigrant visas (SIV) who are at risk of retaliation by the Taliban insurgents because of their work in the United States government.

The first batch of evacuees and their families are expected to be transferred to Fort Lee, a US military base in Virginia, before the end of this month. They will wait for the final processing of visa applications.

On Monday, the Pentagon said that approximately 2,500 Afghans could be taken to a facility about 30 miles south of Richmond. The Biden administration is reviewing other U.S. facilities where SIV applicants and their families can stay in the U.S. and abroad.

After the US-led invasion in 2001, Afghans who worked as translators or other jobs in the US government could obtain special immigrant visas.

The U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation that would expand the number of SIVs that could grant by 8,000, covering all potentially eligible applications in the pipeline. About 18,000 such applications are being processed, U.S. officials say.

Source: US news