Around 20,000 Afghan refugees are staying at eight military bases across the U.S., Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley said during a Wednesday press conference.
Evacuees from Afghanistan are screened for medical and security issues before arriving in the U.S. in accordance with Department of Homeland Security guidelines, according to Milley. The last U.S. plane left Kabul, Afghanistan, on Monday signaling the completion of the U.S. forces’ withdrawal from the country.
“Currently, there’s approximately 20,000 evacuees in seven staging bases in five countries in Central Command, another 23,000 in seven staging bases in four countries in Europe,” Milley said. “And as of this morning, there are approximately 20,000 Afghans who arrived at eight different military bases in the continental United States.”
More than 124,000 people were evacuated from Afghanistan since July, according to CBS News. An unknown number of U.S. citizens and Afghan allies were left in the country and it’s unclear whether American forces will assist them in leaving. (RELATED: EXCLUSIVE: Small Percentage Of Afghan Refugees Flagged Through Security Screenings For Possible Ties To Terrorism)
The Department of Defense prepared for the arrival of up to 30,000 Afghan refugees who applied for Special Immigrant Visas (SIV) at Army bases in the U.S. The SIV applicants were expected to be housed at U.S. bases including Fort Bliss in Texas and Fort McCoy in Wisconsin.
The Biden administration this week warned refugee nonprofit organizations of the expected arrival of some 50,000 Afghan refugees without visas. It was unclear how many Afghan refugees were expected to arrive in the U.S. on SIVs.
At least 30 Afghan children had arrived in the U.S. without their parents as of Friday, CBS News reported. The unaccompanied children were taken into federal custody where officials will work to match them with sponsors in the U.S., including other family members or friends.
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