Almost a half year after Joe Biden’s catastrophic withdrawal of US military forces from Afghanistan, around 18,000 Afghan refugees are housed on American military bases. A Department of Homeland Security spokesperson confirmed the number and said they are awaiting resettlement inside the US.
The remaining refugees are spread across five American bases. Around 57,000 Afghans have already been resettled in various locations inside the country.
The DHS spokesperson said that the Operation Allies Welcome program has made “incredible progress” since the withdrawal. The department expressed its gratitude to veterans, faith groups, and citizens who have welcomed “our Afghan allies” into their new American homes.
According to a report issued by the Department of Defense’s Inspector General, the United States Marine Corps Base Quantico in Virginia spent $188 million on housing, food, medical and educational services, and military personnel to serve Afghan refugees. Travel charges cost another $4.6 million.
The fallout of the withdrawal from Afghanistan lingers as many Americans have been angered and concerned that military leadership announced the pullout was complete. American citizens, permanent residents, and allies were still trapped in Kabul and throughout Afghanistan. The Biden Administration faced further criticism when the evacuations from the Kabul airport were marred by a suicide bombing attack that killed 13 American service members and injured many more.
CNN recently reported that sources inside Congress and the State Department confirmed there are still around 80 Americans stranded in Afghanistan who want to depart as quickly as possible. The Taliban has reportedly unilaterally halted evacuation flights from the Kabul airport for the last month.
During a press briefing on Tuesday, State Department spokesperson Ned Price confirmed that the US is “working currently with a few dozen” citizens and their dependents who are ready to leave and have their passports and travel papers in order.