Biden says Afghan interpreters who “risked their lives” for US troops won’t be left behind

U.S. President Joe Biden on Thursday (June 24) said Afghan interpreters who aided American troops during the 20-year-long war would not be abandoned to their fate when the United States and its allies complete their withdrawal from that nation.

The United States is planning to evacuate a group of vulnerable Afghan interpreters before the U.S. military completes its withdrawal from Afghanistan so they can wrap up their visa applications from safety, U.S. officials said.

The evacuation of the at-risk Afghans will include their family members for a total of as many as 50,000 people, a senior Republican lawmaker told Reuters.

The decision by President Joe Biden’s administration risks inflaming a sense of crisis in Afghanistan, just a day before Biden meets Afghan President Ashraf Ghani for talks in Washington aimed at projecting a sense of partnership despite the U.S. military exit.

Responding to questions after a White House speech, Biden said, “Those who helped us are not going to be left behind … They’re welcome here just like anyone else who risked their lives to help us.”

His meeting with Ghani comes as Taliban insurgents press a major offensive in Afghanistan, triggering growing concern in Congress.