Afghan refugees to be resettled in Seattle and Tacoma

SEATAC, Wash. — Pentagon officials said their primary mission is to help with the safe evacuation of U.S. allies and civilians after the Taliban took control of Afghanistan’s largest city, Kabul, causing people to rush to escape the country.

As many as 22,000 Afghanistan refugees could end up in the U.S., and some will be resettled in Seattle and Tacoma.

Members of Seattle-area nonprofit Lutheran Immigrant and Refugee Services said volunteers are needed to pick up Afghan refugees arriving at SEA. They also need people to assist with setting up apartments and providing meals.

According to Lutheran Immigrant and Refugee Services, refugees have special visas. Recipients have been employed by the U.S., serving alongside troops, diplomats or other government employees, filling such roles as interpreter, translator, driver and cultural adviser.

As they make their way to the Northwest, Washington state leaders and members of Congress have been sharing their thoughts on the situation.

“(We’ve) met with Afghan national security forces. We met with some of the people who American soldiers were training, and it is hard to square what you’ve seen over the last few days with what we heard from them,” said Rep. Derek Kilmer, D-Wash.

“We need to help those who have helped our country. We need to help the women who have been voices and leaders in that country,” said Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash.

So far, more than 2,000 Afghan civilians have been approved to arrive in the U.S. They began arriving in July via evacuation flights from the capital in Kabul.