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Afghan refugees continue arriving at Fort Bliss; more expected this week

FORT BLISS, Texas -- Afghan refugees continued arriving at Fort Bliss on Sunday, with more expected to arrive in the Borderland region over the next few days.

According to Fort Bliss officials, those who are arriving are special visa applicants, their families, and others who were at risk. 

The U.S. Northern Command is working to create additional space at military bases, including Fort Bliss, as more refugees are set to come to the U.S. from Afghanistan.

Fort Bliss announced that it is establishing 'Team Bliss' in support of 'Operation Allies Refuge.' An estimated 1,000 service members will be assembled to make the operation possible. 

Fort Bliss’ task force is working to provide basic necessities including housing, medical, logistics and transportation support. 

In a press briefing on Sunday, President Joe Biden acknowledged their were still plenty of American citizens and Afghan allies that still needed to be evacuated from Afghanistan.

“Our first priority in Kabul is getting American citizens out of the country as quickly and as safely as possible. The State Department continues to reach out to remaining Americans that we have identified by phone, email and other means to ascertain their whereabouts and plans,” Biden said.

He added, “We are also working on moving our Afghan allies who stood with us side-by-side and other vulnerable Afghan women, leaders and journalists out of the country.”

All who enter the U.S. are undergoing security screening and a vetting process.

“We are conducting thorough scrutiny screening for everyone who is not a US citizen or a lawful permanent resident; anyone arriving into the United States will have undergone a background check,” Biden affirmed. 

Biden indicated that he had been touched by support he has seen from community organizations across the nation in support of the Afghan refugees.

Fort Bliss officials expressed the same, taking to social media to note that “the outpouring of humanity and empathy from our community and the greater El Paso area is truly humbling.” 

While Fort Bliss officials said many in the community had reached out looking for ways that they can help, they noted that the “hierarchy to contribute locally is still being established.”

However, those who are interested in volunteering can do so by signing up with the American Red Cross. The organization is seeking volunteers to help with Operation Allies Refuge, especially those with language skills.

Article Topic Follows: Military
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Rosemary Montañez

ABC-7 Reporter

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