Afghan refugees at US military base struggle from scanty winter supplies: Report

Volunteers and refugee settlement groups have complained for being overwhelmed with the number of refugees, understaffed and the lack of plan by the administration of US President Joe Biden to help the Afghans transition into a life in the country.
Critics have criticised US President Joe Biden for his administration's lack of preparedness for Afghan refugees, who currently live across eight US military bases.(AP)
Critics have criticised US President Joe Biden for his administration's lack of preparedness for Afghan refugees, who currently live across eight US military bases.(AP)
Published on Nov 14, 2021 04:22 PM IST
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Written by Sharangee Dutta | Edited by Poulomi Ghosh, Hindustan Times, New Delhi

Around 50,000 Afghan refugees continue to live at the military bases in the United States, even as winter sets in and scanty supplies are available for the season.

According to Khaama Press, these refugees have no idea how long they have to continue residing at the bases until they can get settled at permanent homes. US President Joe Biden has received sharp criticism from critics for his administration’s lack of preparedness for these refugees, who are spread across eight military bases in the country.

A report by HuffPost said that the military base in Fort McCoy, Wisconsin houses the majority of the Afghan refugees with as many as 13,000 of them living there. The Pentagon has said 44 per cent of the nearly 50,00 refugees living at the bases are children as of October.

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The HuffPost report further stated that some refugees have mentioned about not having sufficient winter robes even as temperatures have dipped.

Volunteers and refugee settlement groups have also complained of being overwhelmed with the number of refugees, understaffed and the lack of plan by the Biden administration to help the Afghans transition into a life in the US.

“There was never a plan because it was so chaotic from the beginning and there are so many unknowns,” Spojmie Ahmady Nasiri, a California-based immigration attorney, who has visited five of the eight military bases, told HuffPost.

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Biden has been under the knife due to the manner in which the pullout of US troops and evacuations of Afghans took place after the Taliban recaptured Afghanistan on August 15. The scenes at Kabul airport were nothing short of a mayhem with people standing in long queues starting early morning with documents in hand only to stand a chance to be flown out of the country and the grips of the Sunni Pashtun group.

Despite pressure from US allies to extend the deadline for the pullout of the troops, Biden stuck to August 31 – only days after the Taliban talked of retaliation over an extension of the date.

Khaama Press reported that critics have criticised the Biden administration for leaving behind tens of thousands of Afghans, who worked for the US in their 20-year-long war, and instead bringing unknown persons to the US.

In October, Fox News had reported that an inspector general-ranked officer in the US state department will investigate the immigrant visa program and the clearing of Afghans for entry into the country as refugees. The report stated that the officer would also probe the evacuation of the US embassy in Kabul.

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Wednesday, January 19, 2022