Two years after fall of Kabul, tens of thousands of Afghans languish in limbo waiting for US visas

by Ryan Lee
Visa Processing

Two years after the fall of Kabul, a significant number of Afghan citizens find themselves in a state of uncertainty, awaiting US visas. When the Taliban seized control of Afghanistan, Shukria Sediqi, a journalist advocating for women’s rights, knew her safety was in jeopardy due to her work. Fleeing with her family, they aimed to resettle in the US through a program designed to aid Afghans at risk due to their involvement with the US government, media, or aid agencies.

However, the process of obtaining US visas has progressed agonizingly slowly, leaving Sediqi and many others stranded. Despite recent developments, only a small fraction of Afghan applicants have been resettled. Living in a state of limbo, many have depleted their savings while they wait in exile. The promise made by the US appears to be forgotten, leading to apprehension about the future.

For two decades, Afghans played vital roles in supporting the US government and military efforts in Afghanistan. The US had a special immigrant visa program since 2009 to assist those directly engaged with the government and military. As the US was withdrawing, new refugee programs were established by the Biden administration, broadening the scope of eligible Afghans, including aid workers and journalists, who promoted values like democracy and independent media.

Yet, the visa application process has been marred by bureaucratic issues and understaffing. Afghans’ concerns are compounded by challenges such as destroyed documents during the Taliban takeover, which are now necessary to substantiate their cases. The resettlement efforts have faced criticism for their lack of transparency and sluggishness.

Despite a massive airlift evacuating numerous Afghans, thousands remain in a state of waiting. Around 150,000 applicants seek special immigrant visas, and an additional 27,400 are in line for the newly created refugee programs. However, the rate of processing these applications remains slow. The Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction highlighted bureaucratic dysfunction and understaffing, putting Afghan allies at risk.

While efforts to process Afghan refugee visas are ongoing, progress is being made, and refugee admission caps have been raised. Nonetheless, the lingering challenges have led to frustration and fear among Afghan applicants who are still grappling with an uncertain future.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Visa Processing

What is the current situation for Afghan citizens seeking US visas after the fall of Kabul?

Two years after the Taliban took control of Afghanistan and the US withdrew, many Afghans are in limbo, waiting for US visas due to slow processing.

Why did Afghan citizens like Shukria Sediqi flee Afghanistan?

Afghan citizens like Shukria Sediqi, a journalist advocating for women’s rights, fled due to the Taliban’s control and their work being considered immoral by the Taliban.

What programs were established to aid Afghans seeking resettlement in the US?

The Biden administration created P-1 and P-2 visa programs for aid workers, journalists, and others who supported democratic values, aiming to help those at risk under the Taliban.

What challenges have Afghan visa applicants faced in the process?

Bureaucratic dysfunction, understaffing, and the need for destroyed documents have hindered Afghan applicants’ efforts to obtain US visas, leaving them in precarious situations.

How many Afghan applicants are currently seeking US visas?

Around 150,000 applicants seek special immigrant visas, and an additional 27,400 are in line for the newly created refugee programs, highlighting the scale of the challenge.

Has progress been made in processing Afghan refugee visas?

Efforts are ongoing, with the Biden administration raising refugee admission caps. However, challenges remain, and the pace of processing has been criticized for being slow.

What concerns do Afghan visa applicants have?

Afghan visa applicants worry about their future, their families’ safety, and the uncertainty of their situation, exacerbated by a lack of transparency and information.

What is the sentiment among Afghan applicants awaiting US visas?

Many applicants are frustrated and concerned about their families’ well-being, while also hoping for the promised support from the US.

How have other countries like Pakistan been involved in this situation?

Pakistan has hosted a significant number of Afghan refugees, but even there, Afghan applicants face challenges due to visa expirations and uncertain processing procedures.

What is the general consensus among refugee support organizations?

Support organizations acknowledge the slow start but believe that progress is being made to address the challenges faced by Afghan refugees in the US resettlement process.

More about Visa Processing

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Mia August 14, 2023 - 2:52 pm

wait, so they burned their docs to stay safe, but now they need ’em for visas? that’s a tough one, can’t imagine

Chris August 14, 2023 - 6:51 pm

US raised the cap for refugees, but they still got issues in resettlin’ afghans, seems like a real complex situation

Ashley August 15, 2023 - 1:34 am

i saw this on news, it’s not just the slow visas, it’s like whole families in fear, future uncertain, heartbreaking

Ricky August 15, 2023 - 2:54 am

heard about Pakistan takin’ in so many afghan refugees, but even there, it ain’t easy, visas expirin’ and all that

Sammy August 15, 2023 - 3:19 am

omg i read about this, afghan journalists risking so much for women’s rights, but now just stuck waitin’, it’s sad

Jessie August 15, 2023 - 5:36 am

seems like organizations tryna help, but things got so mixed up with this visa process, someone needs to fix it pronto

Jamie August 15, 2023 - 8:08 am

so, like, all these afghans helped the US, and now they’re like “where’s the help we were promised?” feels wrong, man

Alex August 15, 2023 - 10:23 am

yeah, its like afghan people got dealt a real bad hand with this visa stuff huh? all that waitin’, it’s really messed up


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