The Pentagon announced it would open three more military bases to increase the capacity for how many Afghan refugees it can house.
On Friday, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby announced that Marine Corps Base Quantico in Virginia, Fort Pickett military base in Virginia, and Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico would be opened up for Afghan refugees.
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Those three additional bases are being added to the four — Fort Lee in Virginia, Fort McCoy in Wisconsin, Fort Bliss in Texas, and Joint Base McGuire-Dix in New Jersey — that are already designated.
The seven installations, when operating at full capacity, will be able to house approximately 50,000 Afghans.
“The Defense Department will continue to support the State Department in providing temporary housing, sustainment, and support inside the United States for a capacity of up to 50,000 Afghan special immigrant visa applicants, their families, and other at-risk individuals,” Kirby said.
He also said that “just under 7,000” Afghans have landed in the U.S as of Friday.
The current maximum capacity at the four bases previously designated for temporary refugee relocation spots is approximately 21,000, Air Force Gen. Glen D. VanHerck, commander, U.S. Northern Command and North American Aerospace Defense Command, said during Friday afternoon’s Pentagon briefing.
“We’re steadily working to increase capacity to the 50,000 number by Sept. 15,” he said. “The number of military installations supporting this could increase.”
There have been some issues with processing at Dulles International Airport, where evacuees are landing. Kirby acknowledged reports of Afghans waiting on the tarmac for hours “have proven accurate in the last couple of days.”
Those Afghans are being provided with culturally appropriate meals and are being offered the coronavirus vaccine, VanHerck said.
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The U.S. has evacuated or facilitated the evacuation of more than 110,000 people out of Afghanistan in August, with a significant majority of them coming after the Taliban’s takeover. President Joe Biden has repeatedly reaffirmed his commitment to ensuring all U.S. troops depart the country by Tuesday, a self-imposed deadline.
He maintained that deadline even after an ISIS-K operative detonated a suicide vest killing more than a dozen U.S. soldiers, more than 100 people in all, and wounding countless others outside the Hamid Karzai International Airport on Thursday.
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Tags: News, Defense, Military, Pentagon, Lloyd Austin, War in Afghanistan, Afghanistan, Refugees
Original Author: Mike Brest
Original Location: Pentagon opens additional US bases to house Afghan refugees
Pentagon opens additional US bases to house Afghan refugees – Yahoo News