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Newsline: Afghan refugees protest delayed visas at US embassy in Madagascar

A group of refugees from Afghanistan has gathered in front of the United States embassy in Madagascar’s capital, Antananarivo, calling for their cases to be expedited after years of waiting. At least a dozen Afghans including both adults and children gathered outside the embassy premises, saying they had applied for the US Refugee Admissions Program in 2019, but were yet to receive any updates until two months ago, when they had interviews with a US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) agent. Since then, their wait for answers has continued, they said. “They said after one month they give us the result, after now they haven’t given the result,” claimed one refugee, Ahmadullah, who like the others gathered asked to only use his first name for fear of retribution against his family in Afghanistan. “We have no word,” he told Al Jazeera. “We have nothing.” (https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2022/7/18/afghan-refugees-protest-at-us-embassy-in-madagascar) Bahar, a spokesman for the group, told Al Jazeera by video chat from the protest “They make us a hostage since 2019 … Now we are sitting here in this rain. We will not leave until we get this answer.” Those gathered said they had worked in support of either NATO forces or US and foreign companies and non-profits in Afghanistan, and as a result, faced Taliban retribution if they returned to their home country.

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