Last group of Afghan refugees depart from New Mexico, Indiana military bases

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The last group of Afghan refugees have departed from military bases in Indiana and New Mexico, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced this week.

DHS first said Tuesday that the nationals housed at Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico departed the base a day earlier, making it the fourth base to end operations as part of Operation Allies Welcome — the government’s effort to resettle Afghan refugees.

Shortly after, the agency said that Camp Atterbury in Indiana completed operations as well.

“I am incredibly proud of the military men and women and the entire interagency team who enabled the resettlement of approximately 7,200 Afghan guests who temporarily resided at Task Force Atterbury,” Gen. Glen D. VanHerck, commander of U.S. Northern Command, said in a statement regarding the end of operations in Indiana.

“As Task Force Atterbury concludes its support to this operation, our service members and the entire team should take pride in the professionalism, dedication, and empathy they demonstrated throughout the mission,” he continued.

The Department of Defense is still providing temporary housing facilities for a separate 9,000 refugees at three more military bases: Fort McCoy, Wis., Fort Pickett, Va., and Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst in New Jersey.

The U.S. officially withdrew troops from Afghanistan on Aug. 31 and in the process evacuated more than 124,000 people — the vast majority being Afghan refugees. 

More than 66,000 Afghan evacuees have now been resettled across the country, DHS said in the announcement for Camp Atterbury.

In mid-November, the last group of Afghan nationals housed at Fort Lee, Va., were resettled, followed by nationals housed at Marine Base Quantico in Virginia a month later.

Also in late December, the last group of nationals housed at Fort Bliss, Texas, were resettled, making that base the third to complete operations.


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