US to start evacuating Afghans who helped American forces this month

• White House says visa applicants are ‘courageous individuals’

• US forces to withdraw from Afghanistan by 31 August

The US will this month begin evacuating from Afghanistan special immigration visa applicants whose lives are at risk because they worked for the US government as translators and in other roles, the White House said on Wednesday.

The evacuation, dubbed Operation Allies Refuge, is set to start during the last week of July, the press secretary, Jen Psaki, told a briefing. Fighting between US-backed Afghan forces and the Taliban has surged, with the militants gaining territory and capturing border crossings.

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