White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki (file photo). Photograph:( Reuters )
They said Washington is in talks with Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan about letting in the at-risk Afghan citizens. Two of the sources were US officials and all requested anonymity
The Biden administration is exploring having three Central Asian countries temporarily take in thousands of Afghans who worked with US forces and face threats from the Taliban now that American troops are withdrawing after 20 years, three sources familiar with the matter said on Friday.
They said Washington is in talks with Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan about letting in the at-risk Afghan citizens. Two of the sources were US officials and all requested anonymity.
The three sources said an agreement did not appear imminent with any of the countries.
The decision to move at-risk Afghans risks inflaming a sense of crisis in Afghanistan, as fighting between US-backed Afghan forces and the Taliban has surged in recent weeks, with the militants gaining control of large amounts of territory.
Thousands of Afghan translators and interpreters face threats from the Taliban after working for two decades alongside the US military.
The United States announced plans last week to seek refuge for thousands of vulnerable Afghans in countries outside Afghanistan so their US visa applications could be processed from safety, but Washington did not specify where they would go.
White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki provided no further details on Friday.
"One of the reasons that I'm not going to get into security details about what third country they might go to, and how many, is exactly for that reason, but certainly our timeline is to relocate these individuals to a location outside of Afghanistan before we complete our military drawdown," Psaki said.
President Joe Biden has said those who helped the United States will not be left behind, and on Thursday, a senior Republican lawmaker said plans to evacuate at-risk Afghans will include their family members for a total of as many as 50,000 people.
(With inputs from agencies)