Afghan Refugees Still Waiting for US Visas | Persecution

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Afghan Refugees Still Waiting for US Visas

08/30/2022 Afghanistan (International Christian Concern)– Thousands of Afghans are still living in a temporary housing facility in Abu Dhabi’s Humanitarian City a year after the last U.S. military evacuation flight left Kabul’s Hamid Karzai International Airport. Although provided safe housing, food, and necessities by the UAE, these refugees are in limbo and unsure of their future and safety. One driver of their dilemma is the significant lag in the time it has taken for the U.S. to vet and provide visas for refugees. Exacerbating the problem are indications that the U.S. appears to be ending operations there. According to multiple outlets, the U.S. is closing visa processing and other steps to integrate Afghans into the country, leaving a vulnerable population to wonder what will happen next.

Among this population are about 1,700 Christians and Hazara Muslims, two especially vulnerable groups in Afghanistan and other countries practicing extremist Islam. Before their flight from Afghanistan, the Christian refugees in Humanitarian City faced harsh conditions and persecution from the Taliban. They and their families were subject to constant threats of harm or murder, and marginalization by Afghan society resulting in almost impossible conditions for survival. Christians who were able to escape held hope that their future for they and their families would be better.

Now it appears that Christians are facing discrimination and fear for their safety at Humanitarian City. Christians housed at the facility claim they are socially excluded from the Afghan community. An Afghan imam in charge of one of the compound’s blocks, for instance, put pressure on Christians to go to Friday prayers. He spoke and claimed to be familiar with Christian households. Some Christians claimed that the Afghans who managed each block of rooms in the compound denied them access to essential goods. Others claimed to have found Qurans left in their lodgings. Many claimed that translators had harassed them, which made them scared of them and further alienated them.

While they wait for their opportunity at a life in the U.S., Christian Afghans once again experience discrimination for their beliefs.

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