As the Taliban seizes a border town, the US will evacuate Afghan interpreters.
Thousands of translators who assisted US and NATO soldiers in Afghanistan will be evacuated beginning in late July, according to a statement released by Washington on Wednesday, as Taliban fighters took control of a key border crossing with Pakistan.
The translators and their families are expected to be taken to US overseas military posts first, before being resettled in the United States or elsewhere, as part of Operation Allies Refuge, according to the White House.
Many fear vengeance from the Taliban, who are attempting to retake control of Kabul’s government once US forces leave by the end of August.
According to some estimates, approximately 18,000 persons would be eligible for evacuation, bringing the total number of evacuees to as high as 100,000.
The announcement came after the US military completed its final operations in Afghanistan, and Islamist terrorists took control of Spin Boldak, a border crossing on the key route connecting Kandahar and Quetta, Pakistan, and carrying on to Karachi.
The interior ministry of Afghanistan denied that rebels had taken control of the area.
“There were some movements by the terrorist Taliban along the border area… The attack was repulsed by security officers, said to interior ministry spokesman Tareq Arian.
However, photographs of Taliban fighters enjoying in the border town inundated social media, and residents informed AFP that the town was in Taliban hands.
“This morning, I went to my shop and noticed the Taliban all over the place. They can be found in the bazaar, the police station, and the customs area. “I can also hear fighting nearby,” Raz Mohammad, a merchant working near the border, said.
The border crossing gives rebels direct access to Pakistan’s Balochistan area, where their top leadership has been headquartered for decades, as well as an unknown number of reserve fighters who enter Afghanistan on a regular basis to assist strengthen their ranks.
An AFP reporter on the Pakistani side observed approximately 150 Taliban fighters riding motorcycles, carrying insurgent flags and seeking permission to cross into Afghanistan just hours after the crossing was destroyed.
Spin Boldak was the most recent in a spate of border crossings and dry ports taken by the militants in recent weeks, as they seek to suffocate Kabul’s earnings while simultaneously bolstering their own finances.
Another indicator that Western nations are quickly reassessing the situation is British Defence Secretary Ben Wallace’s statement that the UK is willing to engage with the Taliban if a power-sharing agreement is reached. Brief News from Washington Newsday.