An all-female Afghan military platoon that once served with the U.S. forces is now in immigration limbo in America after the U.S.’s withdrawal from Afghanistan in 2021.
Background: The female Afghan military’s Female Tactical Platoon was deployed with U.S. and Afghan special forces to collect intelligence from women and children.
* After the U.S. pulled out of Afghanistan, members of this platoon came to the U.S. under a temporary humanitarian program.
* Following the Taliban takeover in August 2021, they joined the tens of thousands of Afghans who evacuated to the U.S.
Present situation: The Female Tactical Platoon members now face challenges obtaining permanent residence in the U.S.
* They are currently in the U.S. on humanitarian parole, a program set to expire this summer.
* Many platoon members have nowhere to return to in Afghanistan for fear of Taliban retribution.
* Some members have been separated from their families, and others report that Taliban has captured and tortured their siblings.
Legislative efforts: The U.S Congress is seeking a solution for Afghans facing immigration uncertainty.
* The Afghan Adjustment Act, a bill which would have offered Afghans a legal path to permanent U.S. residence, was blocked last year but was reintroduced this year.
* Critics have voiced frustration over the delay in processing special visas for Afghan evacuees.
Assistance for the platoon: Veterans group Sisters of Service has been supporting the Female Tactical Platoon members in their adjustment to life in the U.S.
* Mahnaz Akbari, former commander of the Female Tactical Platoon, states that without permanent residence status, finding good jobs is challenging, some members wish to join the U.S. military but can’t due to their temporary status.
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