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Afghan refugees continue filling Fort McCoy, work underway to add capacity

Published: Aug. 23, 2021 at 4:50 PM CDT
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FORT MCCOY, Wis. (WEAU) - The fall of Afghanistan’s government is causing thousands of refugees to flee the country, and a large portion is heading to the dairy state.

The U.S. is conducting a widespread operation to ferry Afghans to Wisconsin’s Fort McCoy, as well as military bases in Virginia, Texas, and New Jersey.

The U.S. military says more than twice the amount of people were flown over the past 24 hours compared to the first day of evacuations.

“As of this morning, within the last 24 hours, 25 US military C-17′s, three US military C-130′s, and then a combination of 61 charter, commercial, and other military flights departed Kabul,” Maj. Gen. Hank Taylor said. “The total passenger count for those flights was approximately 16,000.”

Taylor is the Deputy Director of Joint Staff Regional Operations.

He says an authorization from the Secretary of Defense is adding 18 more aircrafts to help expedite the process.

“Our mission remains focused on ensuring a steady flow of evacuees out of Kabul to the intermediate staging bases and safe havens,” Taylor detailed. “Our installations continue to rapidly build out capacity as needed to ensure reception, and providing humanitarian assistance.”

Fort McCoy is among those installations that are increasing capacity to handle the large number of refugees coming over from Afghanistan

Refugees began arriving at the Monroe County base on Sunday afternoon, with more expected in the coming days.

Special immigrant visa applicants, their families, and other at-risk individuals are being welcomed at Fort McCoy

Nearly 1,000 service members from multiple units of the U.S. Army and Army Reserve have also assembled at Fort McCoy to provide logistical, medical, housing, and transportation support.

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