$1b needed to quickly evacuate Afghan interpreters, White House tells lawmakers

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The White House officials have said the government will need roughly $1 billion to quickly evacuate the Afghan interpreters and other Afghans who have worked with the US military. (File Photo – Getty Images)

The officials have said the State and Defense Departments will need the fund to expedite the evacuation of the Afghan nationals under the Special Immigrant Visa program.

A committee aide, quoted in a report by CNN, has said both the State and Defense Departments will need up to $500 million each to expand and streamline the visa program.

The request has bipartisan support — and could be included in a security supplemental funding package that is being negotiated on Capitol Hill, the sources have told CNN.

This comes as the U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday approved legislation increasing the number of available visas for the Afghans by 8,000.

Sponsored by Representative Jason Crow, the bill would make some changes to the Afghanistan Special Immigrant Visa program.

With an intention to make it easier to get the visas approved, the bill clarifies who is eligible for the Special Immigrant Visa.

The bill was approved amid ongoing efforts to directly relocate 2,500 Afghans directly to the United States who have previously worked with the U.S. government.

The U.S. officials had earlier confirmed that around 10,000 other Afghans who have worked for the US government will be evacuated to third countries or military bases overseas where their visa and paperwork will be reviewed.

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