Afghans evacuated to Albania protest for faster move to US

TIRANA, Albania (AP) — A group of people evacuated from Afghanistan when the Taliban returned to power last year staged a protest Wednesday in Albania for not rushing their move to the United States.

A small group of families in Shengjin, a town 70 kilometers (45 miles) northwest of the Albanian capital, Tirana, called on the United States to speed up the process of their transfer. Women and children held posters saying, “We are forgotten.”

Some 2,400 Afghans were evacuated to Albania in August and September 2021 and temporarily housed in Shengjin and another resort town, Durres.

The United States and non-governmental organizations provided financial support for their accommodation.

The Albanian government said at the time that it would house thousands of Afghans for at least a year before they moved to the United States for permanent settlement. More recently, the government pledged to keep them for more than a year if their US visas were delayed.

The Foreign Ministry says 900 of the evacuees remain in Albania. Those who were no longer in the European country went to the United States and Canada.

Bledar Shima, the manager of a compound in Shengjin housing 350 Afghans, said the property had not been paid for for six months. Shima urged the Albanian government to intervene, according to private broadcaster Top Channel.

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