Albuquerque Journal

Air Force: Afghan refugees start arriving at NM base

Base commander: Received guests with ‘open arms ... utmost dignity, respect’


ALAMOGORDO — Holloman Air Force Base officials say Afghan refugees have started arriving at the base in southern New Mexico.

A C-130J transport flew the 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.

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.

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