US Secretary of State Antony Blinken visited Afghan refugees in Qatar who are awaiting resettlement to the US.
The US official wrote on his Twitter handle on Wednesday, November 23, that he visited and spoke with Afghan refugees in Camp As Sayliyah, a US army base in Qatar, who will soon be resettled in the US.
According to Blinken, Qatar’s cooperation was pivotal in the process of evacuating Afghans to the US. “Qatar’s support to the Afghan people has strengthened our partnership,” Blinken said.
From August 15 to August 30 of last year, US soldiers evacuated 124,000 Afghan nationals as the Taliban regained control of the country.
One of the several American bases is As Sayliyah, where Afghans who worked for the US along with their families were relocated after being evacuated from Afghanistan in August 2021.
Blinken’s visit comes three months after the US Department of State said it was seeking to expedite the relocation of Afghans who were in jeopardy.
The State Department of the US said that eligible evacuees will be transferred to Camp As Sayliyah, a US Army installation outside of Doha, Qatar, to undergo interviews with US officials, medical examinations, and security screenings.
Early in August, a spokesman for the US State Department announced that they had expanded their efforts to expedite the processing of eligible Afghans, particularly those who were SIV (Special Immigrant Visa) holders outside of the US.
Last year, the US increased its resettlement aid to $1.2 billion and enhanced facilities for processing refugees, including the As Sayliyah camp.
According to a US State Department official, As Sayliyah camp’s new initiatives to managing refugees have “substantially” reduced the length of time that refugees stay, and the majority of those whose cases have been approved leave the camp within 30 to 60 days.