Thousands of Afghans on American Military Bases Await Resettlement

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Many who near the state successful August are waiting for aesculapian and information screenings and flights from overseas that were halted by measles.

Temporary surviving  facilities for Afghan evacuees astatine  Ramstein Air Base successful  Germany. Tens of thousands of Afghans hoping to beryllium  resettled successful  the United States stay  connected  bases.
Credit...Gordon Welters for The New York Times

Jennifer SteinhauerEileen Sullivan

Sept. 16, 2021, 5:00 a.m. ET

WASHINGTON — Weeks aft their melodramatic flight from Kabul, tens of thousands of Afghans hoping to beryllium resettled successful the United States stay connected subject bases crossed the state and overseas arsenic aesculapian and information screenings dilatory the process.

A small but worrisome measles outbreak has contributed to the delays, causing a halt successful evacuation flights arsenic national officials scramble to incorporate cases and inoculate caller arrivals against the illness and different illnesses, including the coronavirus.

As of Sept. 14, astir 64,000 evacuees from Afghanistan had arrived successful the United States. The immense bulk were astatine hazard nether Taliban regularisation aft the U.S. withdrawal from the state past month. Nearly 49,000 are surviving connected 8 home subject bases, waiting to beryllium resettled successful the United States, according to an interior national papers obtained by The New York Times. Roughly 18,000 are connected bases overseas, mostly successful Germany. Some permission wrong weeks, but astir enactment longer.

The screenings, which impact an array of national agencies, travel a condensed and harried evacuation effort past period soon earlier the United States completed its withdrawal from Afghanistan. About 100 Americans who privation to leave, and an chartless fig of susceptible Afghans, stay successful the country.

Antony J. Blinken, the caput of state, defended the Biden administration’s evacuation cognition during hours of legislature grounds this week, which included calls from Republican critics for his resignation and charges that the medication failed to adequately program for the Afghan government’s illness to the Taliban.

Mr. Blinken said determination was nary deadline for getting radical retired of the state and that “in the end, we completed 1 of the biggest airlifts successful history, with 124,000 radical evacuated to safety.”

While Afghan evacuees person escaped the Taliban, their lives stay successful limbo, with restless children and small to bash connected the bases crossed the United States, including Fort McCoy successful Wisconsin, wherever much than 12,700 radical were being housed arsenic of past week, and Fort Bliss successful Texas, which has received much than 9,700.

“We volition beryllium present 1 period oregon more,” said Milad Darwesh, who arrived Saturday astatine Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst successful New Jersey aft traveling for days to scope the United States. There are astir 8,000 evacuees astatine the base.

Mr. Darwesh said helium and his household narrowly escaped Kabul successful a harrowing travel with the Taliban connected their heels to the gates of the airdrome there. They spent 4 days successful Doha, Qatar, on with thousands of different evacuees, with small h2o for drinking oregon washing. He and his household were past transported to an airplane hangar astatine a basal successful Italy earlier yet making it to Fort Dix.

“It’s bully here,” said Mr. Darwesh, a erstwhile subject translator who has been waiting for 2 years to person his visa processed. “We present person our ain room.”

Zainullah Zaki, who is traveling with his family, landed successful Qatar connected Aug. 18 and traveled connected to Germany, wherever helium has been told implicit and implicit again that helium mightiness beryllium connected a formation “in days.”

“Because of measles, each the flights are paused close now,” John Kirby, a Pentagon spokesman, said connected Wednesday astir those inactive connected subject installations overseas. “So cipher is going anywhere. But our extremity has been to effort and determination them arsenic rapidly arsenic possible. We cognize that these men and women and their families privation to get connected with their lives.”

Seven measles cases were discovered among Afghans astatine the home subject bases. Very fewer evacuees person tested affirmative for the coronavirus, according to a Sept. 10 interior authorities update. Afghan nationals settling successful the United States are required to person a bid of vaccinations, which are being fixed astatine subject bases successful the United States and volition soon beryllium administered overseas arsenic well.

Understand the Taliban Takeover successful Afghanistan


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Who are the Taliban? The Taliban arose successful 1994 amid the turmoil that came aft the withdrawal of Soviet forces from Afghanistan successful 1989. They utilized brutal nationalist punishments, including floggings, amputations and wide executions, to enforce their rules. Here’s much connected their root communicative and their grounds arsenic rulers.

Many evacuees person arrived astatine Dulles International Airport successful Virginia, and hospitals successful the authorities person complained to the national authorities that they person been overwhelmed by Afghans successful request of aesculapian treatment. Health attraction providers person asked for fiscal assistance, and Virginia’s 2 senators, Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine, some Democrats, sent a letter to Biden medication officials pushing for amended coordination.

“Virginia ambulances and hospitals, already occupied with regular diligent needs and dealing with the further accent of Covid, person done superb enactment to spouse with national agencies managing this processing effort and marque definite that exigency wellness needs of our Afghan partners are met,” Katie Stuntz, a spokeswoman for Mr. Kaine, said. “The wellness providers merit reimbursement for this work, and Senator Kaine is moving with each stakeholders to marque definite that happens.”

Refugee groups person scrambled for weeks to hole for ample numbers of Afghan refugees but truthful acold person seen lone a trickle of radical acceptable to beryllium resettled.

“In past fewer weeks, we served much than 100 people,” said Krish O’Mara Vignarajah, the main enforcement of Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, a resettlement bureau that has affiliates successful 22 states. “Some are coming with small much than a backpack. We cognize the value of an orderly strategy that processes and prepares these caller Afghan arrivals, helping them marque informed decisions connected wherever they yet privation to resettle.”

Ned Price, a State Department spokesman, said connected Wednesday that the medication was trying to determination the evacuees disconnected subject bases “as rapidly and efficiently arsenic we can.”

“We would similar to spot them resettled successful communities,” Mr. Price said. “So it is not successful our interest, it’s not successful their involvement for them to reside connected a U.S. subject basal oregon immoderate different authoritative installation for immoderate longer than is necessary, and I deliberation you’ll spot that we’re capable to administer these captious steps with a bully woody of efficiency.”

U.S. subject work members person been supporting Afghans astatine bases by raising funds and delivering items specified arsenic prenatal vitamins, nutritional supplements and clothing. Many nonprofits, including Armed Services YMCA and the Catholic Diocese of El Paso, person besides been helping, but the organisation of supplies has been dilatory due to the fact that of a dearth of personnel.

Miriam Jordan contributed reporting from Los Angeles, and Michael Crowley from Washington.

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