The United States military has been sending almost half of the people it evacuates from Afghanistan to U.S. bases on American soil, according to a Pentagon report released Tuesday.
According to the Pentagon, around half of the 53,000 Afghan refugees transported to the United States and staying on military bases are children, highlighting the diversity of obstacles authorities face in resettling Afghans.
The information was revealed in an Oct. 8 answer by Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin to written inquiries from Senate Armed Services Committee ranking member James Inhofe (R., Okla.). It was the first time the military gave a breakdown of the refugees.
According to the letter, around 22% of evacuees at US military sites are female adults, while 34% are male adults, as reported by The Wall Street Journal. Mr. Austin’s numerical breakdown was rough, with a lot of specifics left out.
Mr. Inhofe did not inquire about how many of the youngsters were not accompanied by adult guardians in the letter. Hundreds of unaccompanied children were among the refugees at Germany’s Ramstein Air Base, providing a problem for base authorities and humanitarian workers.
Mr. Inhofe requested a breakdown of the 124,000 people evacuated during the hurried U.S. departure from Kabul’s airport in August, during the closing days of the country’s 20-year conflict.
‘Thousands of third-country nationals and Afghan civilians,’ as well as ‘tens of thousands of friends and partners,’ wrote Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin.
Associated Press photo/Andrew Harnik
According to the letter, Afghans made up 85 percent of the total, or 105,400 people. According to UN data, 41% of Afghanistan’s population is under the age of 14.
The refugees are anticipated to stay at US military bases for months, according to US officials, since it will take that long to reintegrate Afghans after a measles outbreak and a statewide housing crisis, not to mention administrative hurdles that have hampered the process.
According to US authorities, around 6,000 people have been relocated in American towns.
The United States has yet to publish a full breakdown of the 124,000 evacuees, including nationality, gender, and immigration status. Mr. Austin stated in his answer that the US assisted in the evacuation of “thousands of third-country nationals and Afghan civilians,” as well as “tens of thousands of friends and partners.”
Sen. Inhofe asked Mr. Austin nine questions, nine of which required him to furnish classified replies based on his responses.
Sen. James Inhofe has requested a breakdown of the 124,000 persons evacuated during the hasty US evacuation from Kabul’s airport.
Reuters photo/Joshua Roberts
“I’m delighted we now have some information regarding who we evacuated and how the Department of Defense is helping these evacuees,” Sen. Inhofe said. “It’s evident that the Department will confront issues in this area, and I plan to keep a careful eye on the situation.”
The cost of housing the Afghan evacuees has not been disclosed by the US military. It said earlier this month that the airlift operation out of Kabul cost $447 million.
In a law passed late last month, Congress provided $6.3 billion to the resettlement effort, entitling Afghans residing on US military bases to several months of healthcare and monetary aid to help pay for rent, food, and English training.
The arduous trek to their host nations for many Afghan evacuees who are fortunate to catch an aircraft out of Kabul is just starting. Michelle Hackman of the Wall Street Journal describes the processes in the resettlement process and the hurdles they face as they begin their new lives. Zuma Press/Jesus Hellan photo
According to Mr. Austin, the refugees are lodging at Camp Atterbury, Indiana; Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey; Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico; Fort Bliss, Texas; Fort Lee, Virginia; Fort Pickett, Virginia; Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia; and Fort McCoy, Wisconsin.
Evacuees are also being housed in US bases in Germany, Spain, Italy, and Kosovo. Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates have all supplied help in the Middle East, according to the secretary.
LET US KNOW WHAT YOU’RE CONCERNED ABOUT.
What actions should the United States take to assist Afghan refugees? Participate in the discussion below.
Mr. Austin also said that the US is evaluating how much US-supplied weaponry meant for Afghan security forces since 2005 may now be in Taliban hands, implying that the decision may take years.
Mr. Austin wrote, “This work entails detailed reviews of many years of Department of Defense transaction records, reviewing data from Afghan logistic automation systems, cross-checking it with Department of Defense maintenance and contractor records, and overlaying some of this information with data and analysis from the intelligence community.”
According to committee officials, Colin Kahl, the undersecretary of defense for policy, and Army Lt. Gen. James Mingus, the director of operations at the Joint Staff, will appear before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday.
Taliban Rule in Afghanistan
Nancy A. Youssef can be reached at [email protected]
Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Copyright 2021 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. 87990cbe856818d5eddac44c7b1cdeb8