I was on TDY at an NAS when I 'saw' this happen during the Vietnam Conflict; there was a huge surge of applications for exit visas at the embassy (consulate) in March/April 1975. There was such a sense of disbelief and denial that many translators/guides/drivers etc left their exits to the last moment. Families got separated, many people arrested, some people got shot in the head...

We 'lost' a lot of those people*...but thank god , we now have some thriving communities of Vietnamese/Cambodian/Hmong people in CA and LA in the USA who got out at the last minute and have made fantastic contributions to our culture.

In this case, the current admin only announced a withdrawal a few months ago. Anyone that has had interchange with USA embassy and consulate bureaucratic procedure can tell you that nothing is done in less than 3 months, and more often 6-12 months.

Will translators and tech/driver guys be protected this time?

Or is it gonna be another "Killing Fields"?*

Consider the anti-collaborator response of the freed French people after the liberation of Paris (1944) : what will happen to these guys will be horrifyingly and incredibly worse.

The Taliban do worse than 'shave' heads...

*Back in the bad old days, I think this was called "abandonment of personnel in the field", but we had worse descriptions. A lot of it included nasty references to REMF.

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    please see this meta post on how to correctly tag your questions. The current tags look good, but I'm referring to the older ones you originally put. Jun 15, 2021 at 23:48
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    Txs @EkadhSingh that was very helpful. Sorry if I came off like an asshole. As you can see from the history I rolled back , and changed
    – user14221
    Jun 15, 2021 at 23:57
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    No problem @Cascabel, we all do it sometimes :) Jun 15, 2021 at 23:58
  • The Biden Administration has announced the timetable for troop withdrawal a long while ago, but the preparation seems lagging/lacking. However, this time couldn't be compared to Vietnam, for which the US was chased out against clock, this time is voluntary leaving with bad organization/coordination. Thus, the Biden Administration has to shoulder the blames if anyone left behind is killed.
    – r13
    Aug 28, 2021 at 0:11

2 Answers 2


The answer is yes.

There is a rather elaborate process underway for interpreters and other close affiliates of the U.S. government during its presence in Afghanistan who qualify for a "special immigrant visa".

The number of individuals involved is about 17,000. There are bipartisan efforts in Congress and in the Executive branch to speed up processing of these visa applications. In addition to these 17,000 people, about 30,000 families have already migrated to the U.S. under these visas. About 300 local employees of U.S. forces have been killed for their collaborations with U.S. forces so far.

  • This update from CNN is interesting...
    – user14221
    Jul 6, 2021 at 17:50

Actually, per CNN yesterday, August 26th, 2021, it was announced that the US is quite interested in acquiring intelligent assets on the ground in Afghanistan.

Appears, for good reason, to be a lack of willing/qualified candidates.

Apparently, even rumors of one collaborating with the US may get your family members killed. This becomes a certainty if you are exposed and managed to escape. Related CNN story on family death threat.

[EDIT] A quote from a supporting CNN release on CIA Operators:

Most, if not all, CIA operators working in Afghanistan are almost certain to leave as well, current and former officials told CNN. Without the support of a conventional military presence, on-the-ground intelligence gathering becomes significantly more difficult -- and more dangerous. Neither the removal of special operations forces nor the likely removal of intelligence operators has been previously reported.

Also this CNN release, to quote:

Douglas London, a 34-year veteran of the CIA, said intelligence operations in Afghanistan are dependent on the large military presence the US has kept in the country. "The US intelligence presence and ability to collect information depends on the military's infrastructure across the country," said London. "As the US presence diminishes, and with it collectors who need to physically acquire intelligence on the ground, so does our visibility," he added. "That human intelligence comes from sources on the ground who can be regularly met. How many can travel to Kabul, let alone outside the country?

  • I cited the date of a CNN commentary on Afghanistan where it was made public that the CIA is indeed interested in acquiring assets on the ground. Kind of obvious, not at all surprising and it was not a highlighted comment. But, I will check for more documentation of my citation. By the way also obvious the CIA reports to Biden!
    – AJKOER
    Aug 27, 2021 at 23:17
  • Found a supporting CNN release, now quoted in my answer.
    – AJKOER
    Aug 27, 2021 at 23:29
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    Aren't these operators US citizens? I think the question is asking about local personnel who wouldn't qualify for US asylum / residence under normal circumstances.
    – JJJ
    Aug 28, 2021 at 0:55

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