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Air Force: Afghan refugees start arriving at New Mexico base

September 2, 2021 GMT

ALAMOGORDO, N.M. (AP) — Holloman Air Force Base officials said Afghan refugees have started arriving at the base in southern New Mexico.

A C-130J transport flew t he first Afghans to Holloman from Philadelphia on Tuesday, base officials said Wednesday in a statement that did not specify how many refugees had arrived at the base.

The Defense Department previously said multiple military installations across the country would temporarily provide housing plus medical and other support for up to 50,000 Afghans.

Officials said the refugees came to the U.S. under the Special Immigrant Visa program and would undergo medical screening, including testing for the coronavirus, before arriving at the military bases.

The U.S. and its allies conducted a massive evacuation from Afghanistan after the Taliban seized control of most of the country as the U.S. withdrew support to the Afghan military.

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Brig. Gen. Daniel Gabrielli, Task Force-Holloman commander, said base personnel “were able to receive our guests with open arms and ensure that they are treated with the utmost dignity and respect.”

The Alamogordo Daily News reported that Holloman officials were accepting donations of clothing, personal hygiene items and new tote and gym bags.