Wednesday, January 19

Washington processes the reception of 50,000 evacuated Afghans

Washington Correspondent



One week after the US exit from Afghanistan ended, Washington tries to solve the problem of the overcrowding of asylum seekers in military bases around the world, for which both the American diplomatic chief, Antony Blink, like the Secretary of Defense, Lloyd Austin, visit key allies in the Persian Gulf and Europe. On both tours, they will also try to agree with their international partners on a new multilateral strategy with regard to the Taliban and the fight against Islamic terrorism.

Blink y Austin they have traveled to the Gulf separately. The secretary of state is in Qatar and will also stop by Germany to visit in person Afghan evacuees at Ramstein Air Base awaiting clearance to advance to the U.S. While there, Blinken will contact counterparts from 20 nations, including the Europeans on the way forward in Afghanistan.

For his part, Austin, the head of the Pentagon, is in Qatar to thank the ’emirate’ for their cooperation during the Kabul airlift, as well as allowing the use of Al Udeid air base to assist Afghan evacuees. Qatar has agreed to host the US diplomatic mission that withdrew from Kabul at the end of the war, which will now operate from there. EE.UU. it no longer has direct diplomatic relations with Afghanistan.

During a stopover in Bahrain, Austin plans to meet with the Marine Corps soldiers who secured the evacuation of the Kabul airport. A jihadist attack by Daesh (Islamic State) killed 13 soldiers on August 26. Of these, 11 were members of the Marine Corps.

In search of a joint position

The Pentagon chief also plans to visitr Kuwait and Saudi Arabia to agree with these partners a joint position towards Afghanistan, which will prevent the emergence of terrorist cells in that country, as happened years ago. From there the Al Qaida attack of 9/11 was planned.

The US and its allies evacuated more than 120,000 people from Kabul. Of these, 40,000 have reached North American soil, of which a 13% are US citizens. 8% have legal residence. The rest are asylum seekers who have worked with the Armed Forces or US diplomacy. In total, according to official figures, there are 25,600 Afghans housed in eight military bases within the US In total, the White House expects 50,000 Afghans who were threatened in their country to receive visas. The rest wait at bases in Germany, Spain, Italy, Qatar and other places waiting for their applications to be processed.

There is some division among Republicans in the US over the rush to process these applications. Some deputies and senators demand that the federal government take the time necessary to ensure that there are no criminals or possible radicals. The truth is that the majority opinion in the US is that the doors should be opened to these refugees. A poll on Saturday by “The Washington Post” and ABC News said that 66% of all adults in the US “support taking in these refugees.” Among Democratic voters that figure rises to 79%.

Meanwhile, the Taliban claimed yesterday that they have gained ground in the Panshir valley, the last great bastion of armed resistance to the new government of Afghanistan, according to the Afp agency from Kabul. Since the last US soldier left Afghanistan on August 30, the Taliban have launched a major offensive against this valley, some 80 kilometers north of Kabul, which is a rebel stronghold against the fundamentalists. The National Resistance Front (FNR), led by Ahmad Masud, operates there.

Fear of a civil war

The Chief of the American Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark Milley, He said in an interview on Fox News on Saturday that the Pentagon is convinced that in Afghanistan “the conditions of a civil war are again.” “I think that, at least, there is a high probability of a civil war,” he said, which in his opinion is worrying because it could lead “to a reconstruction of Al Qaeda or a reinforcement of Daesh or other terrorist groups.”

“I think there is at least a high probability of a civil war”

For their part, the Taliban have been advancing the formation of a new government for a week, but this has been delayed. In principle they were going to have a cabinet ready on Friday, but so far they have not made any announcements.

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