Around 2,500 Afghans, Their Families to Be Evacuated to Virginia Military Base

The Biden administration announced a plan Monday to evacuate about 2,500 Afghans who worked for the United States government as well as their families. The plan states that they will stay at Fort Lee, an Army base south of Richmond, Virginia, starting next week, the Associated Press reported.

Earlier this month, the administration announced it would soon begin relocation Afghan visa seekers under an called Operation Allies Refuge.

The notice stated: "These initial relocation flights, the first under Operation Allies Refuge led by the State Department, will place America's commitment to those who have helped us into action-providing transportation to secure locations at which the requirements of the (visa) process can be safely and thoroughly completed."

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below.

US to Bring in Afghan US Allies
The Biden administration released its plan to bring over Afghans who worked for the U.S. as allies during the war. Above, Afghan security personnel stand guard along the road amid ongoing fight between Afghan security forces and Taliban fighters in Kandahar on July 9. Javed Tanveer/Getty Images

The announcement, a copy of which was obtained by the Associated Press, came amid growing concerns for the safety of Afghans who served as translators and in other support roles for American troops and diplomats as the administration rapidly moves to complete the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan.

Members of Congress have expressed rising alarm about the fate of Afghans who worked for the U.S. over the past 20 years, particularly as the Taliban has stepped up military operations against the Afghan government in recent weeks, seizing control of major portions of the country as U.S. troops withdraw.

The group to be housed at Fort Lee is just a small portion of the number of Afghans seeking refuge in the United States. Roughly 20,000 have expressed interest in applying for so-called "Special Immigrant Visas" to move to the U.S., but only about half of them are far enough along in the vetting process to be considered for relocation.

"In line with a formal request for assistance from interagency partners, the (Defense) Department has recommended Fort Lee, Virginia as the temporary host installation for the first group of SIV applicants embarking on relocation movements," the notice to Congress said.

"Here, this initial group of approximately 2,500, who have completed the SIV security vetting process, will be able to safely complete the final steps of the SIV process such as a medical screening and final administrative requirements," it said.

This is a breaking story, and it will be updated as more information becomes available.

US to Bring Over Afghan Allies
The Biden administration says it 2,500 Afghans who worked for the U.S. government and their families will be housed at the Fort Lee Army base south of Richmond, Virginia, starting next week. Above, former Afghan interpreters hold placards during a demonstrations against the U.S. government, in front of the US Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan on June 25. Mariam Zuhaib/Associated Press