67,000 Afghan nationals await US Special Immigration Visa processing, report says

US forces standing in front of a crowd that is waiting for their evacuation at Kabul airport on August 16, 2021.

At least 87,000 former local employees of the United States in Afghanistan are waiting for the processing of their Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) cases, according to a CNN report. These individuals, qualifying for SIVs, are currently in Afghanistan and countries in the region, said the report.

CNN’s report highlighted that many of them recently began the visa application process.

As of the eighth month of this year, among the thousands of SIV applicants, only 10,800 have received preliminary approval for evacuation, while the applications of 67,000 others are still pending.

The report also noted that many of these applicants, former colleagues of American forces and employees in Afghanistan, have initiated their SIV requests following the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan. Fearing Taliban retribution, thousands fled to neighboring countries, with many having ongoing SIV applications.

Accordig to the report, an Afghan engineer, who worked with American forces for several years, shared his experience with CNN. After fleeing to Pakistan post-Taliban takeover, he has been waiting over a year for his and his family’s SIV approval. The engineer, alongside his wife and one-year-old child, described the U.S. visa review process as slow and cumbersome.

He detailed the requirements for an SIV application, which include six critical documents: a recommendation letter, human resources verification, personal information, a passport, a DS-157 form, threat details, and a previous duty card submitted to the relevant authority.

This comes as Rep. Brian Mast, a member of the US House, stated Wednesday that former Afghan security forces are “systematically being killed” in Afghanistan, contradicting claims by the Biden administration and the Taliban.

Mast criticized the Biden administration for denying these targeted killings, which include former US government allies. He refuted the Taliban’s denial of international reports about the killing and torture of former security forces, citing evidence from international organizations of deliberate killings.

During a Foreign Affairs hearing in September, Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland claimed not to have seen a consistent pattern of Taliban murders of Afghans who aided US efforts. “That’s a lie that to this moment is resulting in people fearing for their life,” Mast said. He cited several instances of former Afghan forces being killed, despite the Taliban’s amnesty pledge.