According to a recent study, hundreds of Afghans who put their lives in danger to serve with American military personnel are still subject to delays and administrative obstacles as they try to reach the United States for safety.
According to the inspector general of the State Department, 325,000 email messages for requests for special visas went unread in the inbox in May, almost nine months after American soldiers withdrew from Afghanistan.
It is the most recent example of how Washington was unprepared for the enormous number of Afghans who needed assistance in escaping the Taliban.
Joe Biden, the president, has repeatedly vowed to take all necessary measures to save translators and other people who “worked shoulder to shoulder” with American soldiers.
But the Special Immigrant Visa program’s October evaluation exposes a long list of shortcomings brought on by the hasty pullout from Afghanistan.
Despite taking steps to resolve issues raised in 2020, the State Department, according to the study, did not go far enough, making it unable to handle an increase in applications during and after the withdrawal last year.
According to the statement, “the Department has been unable to reach the required 9-month objective on processing Afghan SIVs due to inadequate personnel resources, a lack of planning and coordination, and technical system difficulties.”
Because of this, it’s possible that vulnerable Afghan allies may have taken longer to seek refuge in the US because to the lengthy application processing timeframes.
The article claims that even after Biden announced his resignation, the unit’s personnel size increased from eight to 42, yet it was still unable to handle the situation.
The backlog of email messages was mentioned.
The report said that “National Visa Center personnel were still examining unread emails dating from August 2021” and that “the email account had over 325,000 unread messages as of May 2022.”
The Afghan Evac Coalition emphasized the results and said that earlier advice had not been effectively carried out.
The organization tweeted, “We CAN and MUST do more to enhance the SIV process – lives actually hang in the balance.”
“We need more monitoring & coordination to make sure we #keepthepromise we made as a country,” the message reads.
At the same time, more individuals are applying for special visas.
According to the report’s citation of State Department data, 27,000 applicants submitted applications one year ago; by May, that number had risen to over 62,000.
When include all of their relatives, the backlog now stands at more over 300,000.
The department is presently dealing with an even bigger backlog of applications, in part because to the rise in applications after the events of August 2021, according to the statement.
The agency reports that as of May 2022, there were 322,000 estimated Afghan SIV applicants, made up of 61,888 primary applications and an estimated 259,930 additional eligible family members of those principle applicants.
Since at least October 2021, “The major application backlog has been growing steadily.”
A request for comment from the State Department elicited no immediate response.
A department spokeswoman, however, assured the Washington Times that “the department would continue to ensure Afghan SIV applications are handled as swiftly as feasible in compliance with legislative standards, while continuing to defend U.S. national security.”