The United States is set to begin the evacuation of Afghan interpreters who assisted US-led forces during the conflict and are considered at risk.

The White House said Operation Ally Refugee is set to begin during the last week of July.

It comes as the US withdrew its forces from Afghanistan ahead of the September 11 deadline set by President Joe Biden.

In recent weeks, the Taliban have made rapid progress across the country.

“These are courageous individuals. We want to make sure that we recognize and value their role over the years,” White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said at a briefing.

The initial evacuation will include about 2,500 people who are likely to remain in military facilities, either in the US or a third country, while their visa applications are processed.

The Special Immigrant Visa Program is awarded to people who served with the US government or US-led military force during the Afghanistan War that began in 2001.

Explainer: who are the Taliban?
The threat of retaliation has increased as the Taliban moves rapidly across the country, seizing a series of border posts from Afghan forces, including crossings with Iran, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan.

Taliban militants were reported to have raised their flag at the major Spin Boldak crossing near Kandahar on Wednesday.

Former US President George W Bush – who was behind the decision to send US troops into the country in 2001 – warned that the consequences of the US withdrawal were likely to be “incredibly bad”, with many fearing Afghan security forces Will be completely demolished under attack. “.

The Taliban, which controlled Afghanistan from the mid-90s until the US invasion, has been accused of various human rights and cultural abuses.

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