Senate nearing deal on defense bill after setback
Pentagon says almost half of Afghan evacuees at US bases are children
Almost half of the Afghans evacuated and brought to the U.S. by the military are children, according to data from the Pentagon provided to Senate Armed Services Committee Ranking Member James Inhofe (R-Okla.).
A largely classified letter shares few new details about the 53,000 Afghans brought to the U.S. during the chaotic evacuation. They are now being housed at various military bases across the country.
But it shows that roughly half of those flown out by the U.S. were children, while adult men comprised 34 percent of those evacuated and adult women 22 percent.
The information was shared as part of a wide-ranging series of questions Inhofe sent the Pentagon.
In the letter, the Defense Department declined to provide a detailed breakdown of the status of the Afghans brought into the U.S., failing to reveal how many who received special immigrant visas after assisting the U.S. military were allowed to enter the country. Many who were evacuated were "paroled" into the U.S., temporarily waiving U.S. immigration laws to allow them to apply for the Priority 1 and Priority 2 programs for other vulnerable Afghans that have yet to be fully established.
"Of the population evacuated ... 85 percent included Afghans eligible for a SIV, P1, or P2 refugee status and their family members," Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin wrote in the letter.
The letter offers no details about those evacuated who have yet to arrive in the U.S. and was first reported by The Wall Street Journal.
Inhofe said the letter gave "some of the answers my colleagues on the Senate Armed Services Committee and I have been asking for about who we evacuated and how the Department of Defense is supporting these evacuees."
"It's clear the Department faces challenges ahead in this regard, and I intend to watch this process closely," he said in a statement.