These photos show the Afghan refugees’ arduous journey

More than 700 Afghans from the weeks-long ordeal finally got the answers they desperately needed when they arrived at military barracks in Kuwait earlier this week. Hours later, US Air Force Lt. Gen. Jeffrey…

These photos show the Afghan refugees’ arduous journey

More than 700 Afghans from the weeks-long ordeal finally got the answers they desperately needed when they arrived at military barracks in Kuwait earlier this week.

Hours later, US Air Force Lt. Gen. Jeffrey Harrigian delivered a stark message to the Afghan government.

The Afghans must leave Kuwait by the end of the day, or the U.S. will start returning them to Afghanistan.

Most of the returned Afghans landed in Kandahar, the volatile southeastern province near the border with Pakistan where the Taliban controls much of the territory. The Afghan government claims almost all of Kandahar.

In Baghdad, the Afghan government is still trying to deliver the same message to Mosul’s more than a million population.

These comments and photos released by the military have caused immediate anger — especially among the Afghan refugees who were waiting for the legal right to remain in the US. Some in Kuwait are crying, others frustrated, others afraid.

The basics of where the problem lies are well known: US officials say they’ve vetted the Afghan refugees for years now, but the Department of Homeland Security was reportedly finding it difficult to access data that would help speed their determination.

Under President Donald Trump’s ban on travel from seven Muslim-majority countries, Afghan nationals may not enter the US if they have family in the US. The government has tried a variety of other tools, including a strong focus on lost out-of-country transactions, refugees moving at key times during the day, and fraud.

But these measures haven’t helped fast-track their case to visa status, an important step needed for the refugees to start assisting their new communities. The federal government is also facing a growing number of cases of fraud. One program reportedly charges refugees $7,000 to report fraudulent assets to the US government.

The Immigration and Customs Enforcement has already stopped sending cases directly to the U.S. Embassy in Kabul. Cases in Canada, Australia and the EU are also taking longer.

There are a number of ways to expedite the process for the Afghans. While many have been requesting permanent status from the US Citizenship and Immigration Services, CIS said it is only now taking other means, such as temporary visa status, into consideration.

The United Nations Refugee Agency is also trying to speed things up for those refugees who are stranded in Afghanistan.

There are more than 4 million Afghan refugees already in the US, many for decades.

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