Last Afghans have departed Quantico base, US Homeland Security says

It is estimated that 25,000 refugees are still housed on six US bases

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The last group of Afghan citizens temporarily housed at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia, on Wednesday departed the base, the US Department of Homeland Security said in a statement.

More than 49,000 Afghans have been resettled in communities across the country since the US withdrew from Afghanistan. Resettlement efforts, called Operation Allies Welcome, are led by the Department of State in close co-ordination with more than 290 local resettlement affiliates.

“As another one of our safe haven locations completes operations, we remain steadfast in our commitment to safely welcome our Afghan allies to the United States,” said Robert J Fenton, senior response official for Operation Allies Welcome.

“We are grateful for the support the local community has shown our Afghan allies and the staff working with them throughout this historic effort.”

While on these military installations, Afghans can apply for work authorisation and have access to medical care and resettlement services.

Before entering the US, Afghan evacuees are subject to a rigorous, multilayered screening and vetting process that includes biometric and biographic screenings conducted by intelligence, law enforcement and counter-terrorism professionals from multiple federal agencies.

They also receive multiple vaccinations — which include measles, mumps, polio and Covid-19 — as a condition of their humanitarian parole and all are tested for coronavirus.

The Department of Defence will continue to provide temporary housing facilities for the remaining 25,000 Afghans who are in the process of completing their resettlement.

This year, US senators began pressing federal agencies to expedite the paperwork for Afghans holding Special Immigrant Visas (SIVs) that are desperately trying to leave Afghanistan.

The fear of reprisals by the Taliban against Afghans who were employed by the US or its Nato allies has grown over the past two months.

Agencies are also working to fly Afghans out of neighbouring countries.

Updated: December 23, 2021, 10:13 PM
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