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Where the U.S. is taking Afghans evacuated from Kabul

Data: Department of Defense and Axios research; Map: Danielle Alberti/Axios

The U.S. has been scrambling not only to evacuate thousands of people each day from Kabul's international airport, but also to find and prepare places for them to go.

Why it matters: Insufficient processing capacity was a major hurdle early in the evacuation process, and is still an issue as the number of evacuees rises. But the Pentagon says 14 "temporary safe havens" are now available in the Gulf and Europe, and that number is likely to grow.


The big picture: The U.S. has evacuated over 80,000 people from Kabul since Aug. 14, most of them Afghans. But they have not been taken directly to the U.S.

  • Most U.S. military flights out of Kabul go to one of three hubs in Qatar, Bahrain or Germany. There are also secondary sites in the UAE and Kuwait and at U.S. military installations in Germany, Italy and Spain.
  • Overcrowded and unsanitary conditions at Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar forced the administration to accelerate its efforts to open additional facilities and to establish Ramstein Air Base in Germany as a second major hub.

While at those temporary facilities, Afghans will be vetted for security concerns and to ensure their eligibility to enter the U.S. or other third countries.

  • Those who hold U.S. visas or have completed the Special Immigrant Visa application process can be quickly cleared.
  • It remains unclear how long others might wait. The administration is dispatching diplomats as well as intelligence, law enforcement and counterterrorism officials to expedite the process.

Those who are cleared to travel to the U.S. are being flown to Dulles airport near Washington, D.C., and then on to one of four U.S. military bases in New Jersey, Texas, Virginia and Wisconsin. Additional U.S. bases are expected to be added.

  • The administration has not provided updated numbers of how many Afghans have entered the U.S.

Details: Asked by Axios for a full list of the facilities in Europe and the Gulf that are or will be temporarily hosting Afghans, a Pentagon spokesman referred Axios to a list of the participating countries but did not provide additional details.

  • According to various media reports, they include Rhine Ordnance Barracks and Grafenwoehr Training Area in Germany; Naval Air Station Sigonella and Aviano Air Base in Italy; Naval Station Rota and Moron de la Frontera in Spain; Al-Dhafra Air Base in the UAE and Ali Al Saleem Air Base in Kuwait in addition to the larger hubs.

Go deeper: 14 steps to America for Afghan allies.

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