The United States still needs other nations to take Afghans who fled their homeland last year, a senior US State Department official said on Friday, six months after Washington’s chaotic withdrawal as the Taliban took control.
Washington has been urging its partners to take Afghans who do not qualify to be resettled in the United States, while those that do are facing a lengthy, complicated immigration process.
“We have a call with international colleagues, with about 60 countries every week, and we always remind them of the importance of them participating in this international effort,” the official told reporters on the condition of anonymity.
“We had an international effort in Afghanistan for 20 years. Now we have to have an international effort for resettlement for Afghans that are coming out of Afghanistan.”
The official spoke to reporters in Abu Dhabi after visiting a facility in the United Arab Emirates where last month Afghans staged a rare protest, calling for resettlement to the United States.
The Afghans, who have lived under tightly controlled conditions in the facility, complain there is a lack of transparency in Washington’s process, and that many of them fled because of their work with the United States.
The United States has so far taken 85 000 Afghans since the middle of August when the West withdrew after more than two decades of war in Afghanistan.
But thousands of Afghans are also waiting at temporary sites in the Middle East, Europe, and elsewhere until they are resettled. In the United Arab Emirates, where there are roughly 12,000 Afghans, the United States is still documenting who is there.
The official said it was accepted the process had been slow so far, but that it would be sped up soon and had offered an apology to Afghans at one facility in the UAE.