WASHINGTON (AP) — The first flight evacuating Afghans who worked alongside Americans in Afghanistan has brought more than 200 people to new lives in the United States.
Friday's arrival at Dulles International Airport outside Washington, D.C., brought Afghan translators and close family members, including scores of children and babies in arms, to new lives in the United States.
According to the Associated Press, the flight carried 221 Afghans, including 57 children and 15 infants.
The U.S. plans several more flights for Afghan translators who fear retaliation from the Taliban as U.S. forces leave Afghanistan.
President Joe Biden has issued a statement saying he was proud to welcome them home.
"Today is an important milestone as we continue to fulfill our promise to the thousands of Afghan nationals who served shoulder-to-shoulder with American troops and diplomats over the last 20 years in Afghanistan," Biden said in a statement. "This morning, the first flight of Operation Allies Refuge has arrived in the United States, carrying Afghans who are eligible for Special Immigrant Visas (SIV) and their families. These arrivals are just the first of many as we work quickly to relocate SIV-eligible Afghans out of harm’s way—to the United States, to U.S. facilities abroad, or third countries—so that they can wait in safety while they finish their visa applications."
On Thursday, Congress passed legislation that would allow an additional 8,000 visas and $500 million in funding for the Afghan visa program," The AP reported.
"Most of all, I want to thank these brave Afghans for standing with the United States, and today, I am proud to say to them: 'Welcome home,'" Biden said.