More than 30,000 Afghans are still living on seven military bases in the US three months after botched Afghanistan withdrawal: US has directed more than $13 BILLION to accommodate refugees to date
- ‘We now have we have fewer Afghans on military bases than ever before,’ boasted Pentagon press secretary John Kirby
- The US airlifted about 82,000 Afghans out of Kabul in the days leading up to Aug. 30 as the Taliban encroached on the city
- The 34,000 figure is down from six weeks ago on Oct. 26 when 53,150 evacuees were still living on military bases
- So far the US has pledged about $13.3 billion to Afghan settlement efforts
Three and a half months after the US withdrawal from Afghanistan, roughly 34,000 Afghans are still living at seven military bases throughout the country.
‘We now have we have fewer Afghans on military bases than ever before, and more now have processed out than we have waiting to get processed,’ Pentagon spokesman John Kirby told reporters on Tuesday.
The US airlifted about 82,000 Afghans out of Kabul in the days leading up to Aug. 30 as the Taliban encroached on the city. The 34,000 figure is down from six weeks ago on Oct. 26 when 53,150 evacuees were still living on military bases.
The seven military bases still participating in Operation Allies Welcome are: Fort Bliss in Texas (where an approximate 3,500 refugees are housed), Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst in New Jersey (11,000), Fort McCoy in Wisconsin (7,100), Camp Atterbury in Indiana (3,500), Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico (2,900), and Fort Pickett (5,100) and Marine Corps Base Quantico in Virginia (1,300).
‘We’re glad to see that a majority of those who came to the United States have now been resettled,’ Kirby said. He did not detail how much longer the mission is expected to last.
So far the US has pledged about $13.3 billion to Afghan settlement efforts, half of which came in a September disaster relief and stopgap government funding bill, and $7 billion of which came from a continuing resolution bill to keep the government open through the new year.
Some GOP lawmakers criticized the extra funds for refugees.
The US airlifted about 82,000 Afghans out of Kabul in the days leading up to Aug. 30 as the Taliban encroached on the city
So far the US has pledged about $13.3 billion to Afghan settlement efforts
‘The only response I’ve seen from this Administration when it comes to the Afghanistan withdrawal debacle is to throw more money at the problem,’ Sen. James Lankford said in a statement last week. ‘This is continued unchecked federal taxpayer spending with no oversight and no end in sight.’
Of the $7 billion allocated, $4 billion will go to continued care for refugees on military bases, another $1.3 billion will go to Administration for Children and Families to aid with emergency housing, English language and job training and case management.
A man watches as a lesson is taught in the education center of an Afghan refugee camp at Holloman Airforce Base
Caterers display a halal lunch in the dining tent at the refugee camp on Holloman Airforce Base
Holloman is one of seven military bases still housing roughly 34,000 refugees
The $1.2 billion provided to the State Department will cover ‘basic need requirements and resettlement services for at risk Afghans in the United States, including medical testing, processing, and life support services.’
The White House has said the funding ‘is critical to ensuring that the United States, having responsibly ended U.S. involvement in the conflict in Afghanistan, can continue to resettle Afghan partners and provide them with essential services.’
Republican Rep. Jim Banks, Ind., also denounced the funding, comparing it to the border wall.
‘So now it looks like we’re going to spend $13.3 billion on resettling Afghan refugees,’ Banks
Thursday night. ‘But remember, Congress wouldn’t even approve $8.6 billion for Trump’s border wall. It’s infuriating to watch our leaders continue to put America last.’