Afghan refugees arrive in Texas for treatment at Fort Bliss
Afghan refugees have started arriving in Texas at Fort Bliss, near El Paso, one of three Defense Department sites where they will stay until their immigration process is finalized.
US Army North officials confirmed on Sunday that “a number of Afghans at risk” had arrived at Fort Bliss a day earlier and had been transferred to the Dona Ana Range complex in New Mexico, where they will be temporarily. hosted.
Other Afghans were taken to Fort Lee near Richmond, Virginia, and Fort McCoy, Wisconsin.
The US military is currently transporting Afghans from Kabul to various points around the world. Pentagon officials said on Sunday that those evacuated to facilities inside the United States were in the final stages of the special immigrant visa program run by the State Department.
The army participates in the operations of temporary housing of the Afghans on the American bases. “The 1st Armored Division team provides the Afghans at Fort Bliss with essential support, such as accommodation,” Army Col. Martin O’Donnell of US Army North told the Washington Times on Sunday. “As you can imagine there is a lot of activity associated with the finish.”
The Afghans are part of an evacuation effort still ongoing after the collapse of the pro-US Afghan government and the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan.
Citing security concerns, Col. O’Donnell declined to provide specific details on those who have arrived in Texas so far, or information on future arrivals.
Texas Republican Senator John Cornyn told the El Paso Times newspaper that up to 10,000 Afghan refugees could be sent to Fort Bliss.
Col. O’Donnell said on Sunday that Afghans arriving in the United States would remain at military sites “temporarily until the State Department processes their visa applications.”
The Dona Ana Range Complex is a Spartan training area located in the high deserts of New Mexico, approximately 25 miles northwest of Fort Bliss. It can support a variety of missions, including live fire ranges that can accommodate both tanks and air artillery.
Officials from the 1st Armored Division said they had received a wave of requests from people wishing to participate in efforts to help Afghan refugees at Fort Bliss. Until their relief operations are operational, they recommend that people contact the American Red Cross.
Officials at the army post said the Red Cross was looking for volunteers for the mission, especially people with language skills. Pashto and Dari are the most widely spoken languages in Afghanistan.