The U.S. government is reportedly looking for places — including in Europe — to relocate Afghans who are at near capacity in Qatar and those still hoping to flee Afghanistan.
According to CNN, the concern about capacity is hurting evacuation efforts, with no U.S. flight having left Kabul for at least an eight-hour stretch on Friday.
Many of the U.S. government evacuation flights had been traveling to Qatar but have slowed as the Gulf nation nears capacity for sheltering refugees, CNN reported, citing an unnamed source.
The Qataris had agreed to take in 8,000 Afghan Special Immigrant Visa applicants and their family members, and they are getting close to reaching that number, according to CNN.
The United States has not just evacuated Afghans in that category but others with artist or entertainer visa applicants, CNN reported, citing an unnamed State Department official.
The Qataris are now also taking in other evacuees — such as Americans who have final destinations — but they don’t want to take in Afghans who aren’t already in the "special immigrant visa" process who’ve gone through a security check, the news outlet reported.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said Berlin could grant asylum to about 10,000 Afghans, CNBC reported. Germany’s foreign office said Wednesday that since Monday, around 1,600 people had been evacuated, including Germans, Afghans, and nationals of international partners, CNBC reported.
A Homeland Security spokesperson told CNN the department has deployed personnel from Customs and Border Patrol, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and Transportation Security Administration to Doha, Qatar, to conduct processing, screening, and vetting.
State Department spokesperson Ned Price told reporters Thursday "the department is sending consular staffing teams to Qatar and Kuwait to assist with the transit effort, and we’re preparing teams to surge to other processing locations as well."
Albania, Kosovo, North Macedonia, and Uganda have all offered to temporarily host Afghan refugees, CNN noted.
Meanwhile, Reuters reported that Uzbekistan has sent 150 Afghan refugees back to Afghanistan as part of an agreement with the Taliban and after requests from the refugees themselves.
The refugees had been given security guarantees and all have reported they were able to return safely to their homes after the "necessary formalities," the Uzbek foreign ministry said in a statement Friday.
It is unclear how many Afghans have crossed into the former Soviet republic as Taliban insurgents overran Afghanistan, Reuters reported.
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