Secy. Blinken: Discussions underway to possibly host Afghan interpreters in Kuwait, no deal reached
UPDATED 11:11 AM PT – Friday, July 30, 2021
The U.S. has continued its talks with Kuwait to house Afghans who have been threatened by the Taliban. However, Secretary of State Antony Blinken failed to announce whether interpreters who helped American troops in Afghanistan would be coming to Kuwait.
Meeting with Kuwait’s foreign affairs minister on Thursday, Blinken said they were discussing the possibility of housing as many as 4,000 Afghans on U.S. military installments located in Kuwait, but a deal has not yet been reached. Afghan allies said they are worried about a bureaucratic nightmare as thousands attempt to obtain immigrant visa’s deemed to be protected due to their cooperation with the U.S. Despite an agreement yet finalized, Kuwait recognized the U.S.’s role in keeping them safe.
“The United States has proven time and time again its commitment to the security of Kuwait and the region. Throughout the six decades there are lots of times that the U.S. sought action and total commitment,” said Ahmed Nasser Al-Mohammed Al-Sabah, Kuwait’s foreign minister.
My Kuwait visit underscores an ironclad friendship that has only grown stronger over decades. At a time of intense global challenges, it’s more important than ever to collaborate with our close partners. Kuwait is one of those partners. pic.twitter.com/NjKeZjikbK
— Secretary Antony Blinken (@SecBlinken) July 30, 2021
The U.S. has protected Kuwait since 1990 and has now requested the ally country temporarily house the Afghans that assisted the U.S. during the war. The need for housing comes as Afghan interpreters, guides and other contractors who served alongside the U.S. military are facing threats from the Taliban, as U.S. troops have been withdrawn from the country. Additionally, Blinken said some of the roughly 20,000 interpreters and allies from Afghanistan would be on their way to the U.S. soon.
“The United States is committed to helping those who helped us during our time in Afghanistan over the last 20 years. And indeed, we’ve had very brave Afghans who have stood with us, with our soldiers, with our diplomats, mostly as translators and interpreters, and as a result of that service, benefit from the possibility of securing a visa to come live in the United States,” said Blinken. “We’re actively engaged in that process and notably in relocation planning.”
So far, the Biden administration has approved about 750 Afghans and their family members that have already passed security clearances to be brought to the U.S., generating a total of 2,500. During their talk, Blinken and Kuwait’s foreign minister also reportedly discussed the response to the COVID-19 pandemic, food insecurity and Kuwaiti students in the U.S.