(Photo credit: AFP/Getty Images)
The government of US President Biden has denied at least 85 percent of asylum request applications by Afghans who fled the country after the Taliban defeated the US-trained army last year.
According to figures obtained by The Hill, Washington has processed about 2,600 applications for Afghans seeking to enter the US through a humanitarian parole process that allows for the temporary waiver of immigration requirements.
Out of the applications processed, 2,250 have been denied.
After the chaotic withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan, 76,000 Afghans were transferred safely to the US. However, at least 45,000 more remain scattershot across the globe still waiting to be granted entry.
In February, figures showed that US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) had processed fewer than 2,000 of the over 40,000 asylum requests submitted since 1 July, approving only 170.
On 4 March, a senior US State Department official revealed that the process to resettle the thousands of desperate Afghans stranded in the UAE, Albania, Mexico, and other countries will extend until at least August of this year.
In the face of this, last month, several refugees in the UAE volunteered to return home, with many saying that, after seven months of waiting, their situation had only worsened.
In February, protests broke out at the refugee camp in Abu Dhabi against the slow resettlement process and the prison-like conditions of the camps.
In the weeks after the Taliban consolidated power in Kabul, the Biden administration placed a freeze on Afghanistan’s foreign reserves and prevented international groups from providing aid to the war-torn country.
Biden later signed an executive order to seize and divide the frozen funds, worth over $7 billion, earmarking half for the families of the victims of the 11 September attacks.
As a result of the White House’s unilateral measures, over half of Afghanistan’s population are facing acute food insecurity. They include a million children under the age of 5, who are “at risk of dying due to severe acute malnutrition,” as reported by UNICEF.
According to the country’s health ministry, over 13,000 Afghan babies born since January 2022 have died due to the collapse of the country’s healthcare sector.
Last month, the World Bank revealed that, as a result of the economic blockade, incomes in Afghanistan dropped so sharply that around 37 percent of Afghan households did not have enough money to cover food, while 33 percent could afford food, but nothing more.
“The isolation of the Afghan economy following last August’s political crisis risks … leading to grave poverty, displacement, fragility, and extremism threats,” said Tobias Haque, World Bank Senior Country Economist for Afghanistan.