Budget deal includes thousands more visas for select group of Afghans

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The budget deal currently before Congress could bring more Afghans who assist U.S. forces to the United States.

The omnibus funding bill which will finance government operations through September includes an additional 2,500 special visas for the military and diplomatic interpreters.

Those in Congress who support the initiative contend that the visas are imperative for the United States to attract and protect Afghans who provide support in the battle against the Taliban and ISIS.

“The United States made a commitment that we would protect these brave individuals and their families for supporting the counterterrorism mission in Afghanistan, and who are living under immediate threat of reprisal from the Taliban because of their assistance,” Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., said in a statement.

Along with a group of other senators, McCain sponsored legislation to increase the number of visas available through the program.

In December, Congress approved 1,500 additional visas for the program, but few of them remain. According to the New York Times, the U.S. embassy in Kabul has been forced to reject applicants due to the shortage.

McCain contended that legislators should regularly authorize more of the special visas because they assist U.S. war efforts, particularly in Afghanistan where American troops are currently involved in a fierce fight against ISIS.

H/T: Washington Examiner

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