The Biden administration is considering offering an expedited visa path for vulnerable Afghans including women politicians, journalists, and activists who may become targets of the Taliban, U.S. officials say.
Rights groups have been asking the State Department and White House to add up to 2,000 visas specifically for vulnerable women and women’s advocates to a developing policy plan to evacuate thousands Afghans after the U.S. military pullout this month.
Women who made gains during the two-decade U.S. occupation, and their supporters and advocates, should be part of any expedited list, rights groups have argued to the White House and State Department.
“Lives are at risk,” said Teresa Casale, advocacy director for Mina’s List, which advocates for women’s representation in governments around the world. “Women leaders are being actively targeted and killed by Taliban forces. They receive threats against their lives and safety every day.”
The group and others are recommending these visas be added to an expedited activation process for Afghan people most at risk, by creating a fast track program in State Department, and that U.S. officials actively pursue diplomacy to other countries as well to secure them.
The White House declined to comment on the push to secure more visas for Afghan women’s rights advocates. President Joe Biden will speak Thursday afternoon about the U.S. military’s withdrawal, and is expected to mention women’s rights.