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Head of the US Central Command, General Kenneth McKenzie, speaks in the U.S. embassy compound in Kabul on July 25, 2021. Photo: Sajjad Hussain/AFP via Getty Images

The first plane with more than 200 Afghans who served as interpreters, contractors or other ally roles for the U.S. military has arrived in the U.S. — the first of many such flights as troops are withdrawn from the region.

Why it matters: More than 700 Afghan allies and their families are preparing to be brought into the U.S. in the coming days on special immigrant visas. More than 70,000 Afghans have received those since 2008.

What they're saying: "This flight represents a fulfillment of the U.S. commitment and honors these Afghans' brave service in helping support our mission in Afghanistan, in turn, helping to keep our country safe," Senior Deputy Homeland Security Advisor Russ Travers said on a call Thursday.

The big picture: The flight comes after President Biden pledged support for Afghan interpreters and others who helped the U.S. military throughout the war.

Driving the news: The approximately 200 Afghans traveling to the U.S. this week — under "Operation Allies Refuge" — have completed rigorous security background checks and will complete a medical exam upon arrival at Fort Lee in Virginia, per Travers, before being resettled in cities across the country.

  • Other Afghans may be under threat, but are not currently eligible for the special immigrant visa program, including women's leaders, activists, human rights defenders and journalists.
  • Thousands of Afghan allies who are not as far along in the special immigrant visa process will be moved out of Afghanistan to a third country for safety, said Ambassador Tracy Jacobson, who leads the State Department's Afghanistan task force.

What to watch: When asked if there would be a similar program to the one that has allowed some Iraqi allies to receive refugee status in the country, Jacobson said they are considering a variety of options.

Go deeper: Biden defends Afghanistan exit as fears of collapse grow

Go deeper

Oct 26, 2021 - World

Pentagon warns of ISIS-K capabilities outside Afghanistan

The site of an airstrike conducted by the U.S. against a planner for ISIS-K in Nangarhar province, Afghanistan in August. Photo: Xinhua via Getty Images

U.S. intelligence believes ISIS-K has the "intent" to eventually launch attacks outside of Afghanistan and could be capable of doing so "somewhere between six or 12 months," a top Pentagon official told senators Tuesday.

Why it matters: The U.S. withdrawal and subsequent Taliban takeover of Afghanistan has raised fears that terrorist groups will reconstitute and potentially pose a renewed threat to the U.S. homeland.

Updated 57 mins ago - Economy & Business

Hybrid work now dominates the knowledge economy

llustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

For the first time since the start of the pandemic, most knowledge workers are in hybrid work arrangements, partly remote and partly in-office, a new survey finds.

By the numbers: 58% said they now work this way, in a survey of around 10,000 knowledge workers from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Japan, conducted last November by Future Forum, a research group backed by Slack.

Rents hit all-time high

Data: Zumper; Chart: Axios Visuals

The national median price of a one-bedroom rental apartment in January was up 12% year-over-year, to $1,374 — an all-time high, per Zumper, an online apartment rental site.

Why it matters: Inflation is taking a bigger bite out of people's paychecks these days not only in food and gasoline, but also in housing costs.