WASHINGTON: The Pentagon will use military bases in the U.S. and Qatar to house thousands of Afghan interpreters and translators, along with their families, part of a scramble to evacuate those who worked with the US during the war and face retribution from the Taliban, according to officials, according to a Wall Street Journal report .
Initially, about 2,500 Afghans—700 interpreters and family members—will be flown from Afghanistan to Fort Lee, Virginia, for short-term housing while awaiting final processing for Special Immigrant Visas (SIVs) allowing them to remain in the US, according to Ned Price, spokesman for the state department.
“These are brave Afghans and their families, as we have said, who have served the US and who have completed thorough SIV security vetting processes,” Price said. “They will be provided temporary housing and services as they complete the final steps in the special immigrant process.”
In addition to the Afghans headed to Virginia, Qatari officials have agreed to allow thousands of Afghans who worked for the US and their families to live temporarily at the Al Udeid air base in Qatar, a US official said.
The air base can accommodate 2,000 Afghans, although additional infrastructure potentially could be built to house thousands more, the official said. Qatari officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment.