US neglect policy toward Afghans continues as hundreds await visas
Afghan refugees have been waiting for more than a year and a half in Pakistan under financial hardship, as well as a lack of access to health, education, and other basic services.
Hundreds of Afghan refugees protested in Pakistan's capital on Sunday, as an American program to assist in the relocation of at-risk Afghans fleeing after the hasty US withdrawal stalled.
The US government's Priority 1 and Priority 2 refugee programs, known as P1 and P2, were allegedly designed to expedite visas for at-risk Afghans, including journalists and human rights advocates, following the hasty US withdrawal.
Individuals qualified must have worked in Afghanistan for the US government, a US-based media organization, or a nongovernmental group, and must have been referred by a US-based employer.
Applicants in Pakistan have been waiting for more than a year and a half for US officials to process their visa applications.
Because of the delay in processing visas and resettlement, Afghan applicants are in a highly vulnerable situation in Pakistan, where they face economic hardship and a lack of access to health, education, and other facilities.
According to protesters, candidates have yet to receive the preliminary interview required to begin the visa application process.
“We, the holders of P1/P2 cases, your allies, and colleagues, played significant roles toward expansion of democracy, human rights, and freedom of expression. We are currently asking for your support and companionship in the bad days of life," one banner held by Afghan demonstrators said.
Under US standards, applicants must first relocate to a third country before their claims can be processed, which can take up to 14 to 18 months at first and is handled through resettlement support centers.
It is worth noting that the United States and its various western allies, including the United Kingdom, are behind many war crimes in Afghanistan, which they committed as part of their 20-year-long occupation of the country.
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