White House to send delegation to Uzbekistan as Asian nation braces for Afghan refugees

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The White House said Wednesday it would send a delegation to meet with officials in Uzbekistan as the tiny Asian nation braces for a flood of refugees from Afghanistan.

Emily Horne, a spokeswoman for the White House’s National Security Council, said officials from the two countries will meet to “bolster regional economic development, enhance stability and strengthen American partnerships.”

The delegation will include Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall, who is assistant to the president for Homeland Security, and Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad, the U.S. special representative for Afghanistan reconciliation.

Uzbek leaders are anticipating a flow of refugees from bordering Afghanistan as the United States begins to withdraw troops from the war-torn area.

The Biden administration already has asked Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan to take in about 9,000 Afghans who assisted the U.S. military’s invasion and occupation of the country, according to a report this month by Bloomberg.

The administration also has pledged to expedite immigration visas for Afghans who worked with the U.S. to oust the Taliban government following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, Bloomberg reported.

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