Biden authorizes $100 mln for Afghan refugees

U.S. President Joe Biden authorized up to $100 million dollars from an emergency fund to meet "unexpected urgent" refugee needs stemming from the situation in Afghanistan as U.S. forces leave the country.

The U.S. will begin evacuating thousands of Afghan applicants for special immigration visas who risk retaliation from Taliban insurgents because they worked as translators or in other jobs for the U.S. government after the 2001 U.S.-led invasion.

The first batch of evacuees and their families is expected to be flown before the end of the month to Fort Lee, a U.S. military base in Virginia, where they will wait for the final processing of their visa applications.

The Pentagon said some 2,500 Afghans could be brought to the facility.

The Biden administration is reviewing other facilities in the U.S. and overseas where special immigration visa applicants and their families could be accommodated.

Biden has set a formal end to the U.S. military mission in Afghanistan for Aug. 31 as he looks to disengage from the conflict there.

With the last U.S. forces on the way out of Afghanistan, Biden on Friday in phone call with President Ashraf Ghani assured him of U.S. diplomatic and humanitarian support as violence has risen sharply and Taliban advances have piled pressure on Kabul.

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