US Army Base Set to Welcome Afghans Fleeing Taliban

By Nike Ching, Jeff Seldin | VOA News |

A U.S. soldier from the 3rd Cavalry Regiment walks with the unit’s Afghan interpreter before a mission, Dec. 11, 2014.

WASHINGTON – The first Afghans to be airlifted out of Afghanistan as the United States completes its withdrawal from the country after nearly two decades of war will initially be housed at an Army base south of Washington.

Officials at the State Department and the Pentagon on Monday said as many as 2,500 Afghans will be brought to Fort Lee in Virginia, about 216 kilometers south of the U.S. capital, when flights begin later this month.

The group, which includes about 700 interpreters and others who aided U.S. forces, as well as their families, are then expected to spend several days at the base before they are resettled elsewhere in the U.S.

State Department spokesman Ned Price told reporters the Afghans are all from a pool of Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) applicants “who are closest to completing special immigrant processing.”

“These are brave Afghans and their families, as we have said, whose service to the United States has been certified by the embassy in Kabul, and who have completed thorough SIV security vetting processes,” he said.

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