The Biden administration is working to finalize an agreement with Qatar to temporarily house thousands of Afghans who worked with the United States and their families and are fleeing their country as the security situation deteriorates, according to a source familiar with the ongoing discussions. The source said it could be as many as 8,000 Afghans but cautioned the deal is not final.
A State Department spokesperson told CNN, “We are evaluating all available options. We have no announcements to make on third-country relocation sites for Afghan SIV applicants.”
Should an agreement be reached, an initial group of around 1,000 to 2,000 Afghans is expected in Doha “soon,” the source said
The Biden administration has been considering using third countries to process the Afghan Special Immigrant Visa applicants, and on Thursday the Pentagon announced it would send around 1,000 troops to Qatar in the coming days to facilitate the processing. Secretary of State Antony Blinken also spoke with his Qatari counterpart on Thursday and the State Department said he thanked Qatar for supporting “U.S. efforts to provide safety and security to Afghan nationals.”
Qatar’s defense minister is expected in Washington next week for talks.
The Qatar Embassy did not immediately respond to CNN’s request for comment.
This is a breaking story and will be updated.