Thousands of Afghans
fled to the United States after Afghanistan fell to Taliban in August this
year. Now, the US is putting up a simplified procedure for those Afghans to
secure green cards, that is the permanent resident status, in the country. The
US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said Monday that the government will
streamline the immigration procedures for recent Afghan arrivals to speed up
their resettlement in the United States.

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The streamlined
procedure will apply to those Afghans who arrived in the US on or after July
30. They will also be granted various work permits, the DHS said. Nearly 70,000
Afghans landed in the United States as part of “Operation Allies Welcome” after
the Taliban pushed out Ashraf Ghani’s government and took over power.

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The Afghans filing
for green cards under this category won’t have to pay filing fees. “By
providing these evacuees with access to streamlined processing and fee exemptions,
we will open doors of opportunity for our Afghan allies and help them begin to
rebuild their lives in communities across our country more quickly,” DHS chief
Alejandro Mayorkas said in a statement.

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He added that
actions such as these demonstrate US’ ongoing commitment to Afghan nationals
who assisted the United States over the last two decades.

Over 120,000
people were evacuated from Kabul in Afghanistan after Taliban took over power
in August. Evacuees included diplomats, foreign nationals and Afghans. Many of
them feared reprisals as they had collaborated with Americans during the
two-decade-long war in Afghanistan.

Meanwhile, US
citizens and long-term US residents stuck in Afghanistan may have to wait
longer to be evacuated. Afghanistan’s harsh winter will create new difficulties
for people wishing to leave with the Kabul airport still in despair, said
Thomas West, a US official in Afghanistan.

West added that
the Taliban has largely stayed true to its promises to let US citizens and
long-term residents leave if they choose to do so.