A “majority” of Afghan interpreters and other visa applicants were left behind in the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, a senior State Department official said in a briefing with reporters on Wednesday.
Over 20,000 Afghans who helped the U.S. during the two-decade war in Afghanistan applied for Special Immigrant Visas as of August 15, with that number ballooning to 100,000 if you include family members. Many Afghans were reportedly turned away at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul over the last several weeks, where overcrowding, Taliban security checkpoints, and a terrorist attack hindered the evacuation.
The State Department official said initial reports indicated that most Afghan SIV and other visa applicants were not able to evacuate.
“Everybody who lived it is haunted by the choices we had to make and by the people we were not able to help,” the official said, according to the Wall Street Journal.