Quantico Rings Up $188 Million Invoice for Afghan Refugees Housed in Tents

1000’s of Afghans briefly referred to as Marine Corps Base Quantico in Virginia residence after fleeing a Taliban takeover in August.

The final of these 3,755 refugees had been resettled elsewhere within the U.S. simply days earlier than Christmas, leaving solely an empty, impromptu village of tents and barracks rooms on the bottom — and a $188 million invoice for the Marine Corps and the Pentagon.

The price of the housing effort reported this week by the Protection Division inspector normal is a snapshot of Operation Allies Welcome, the mission of eight stateside bases to host 67,000 Afghan refugees airlifted out of Kabul on the finish of August when the U.S. army ended all operations in Afghanistan after a 20-year struggle.

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The U.S. embrace of Afghans was emotional, painful and uneven as service members and civilians grappled with the struggle’s legacy, and plenty of fearful allies could be left behind to face Taliban retribution. However the monetary price can also be set to soar into the billions of {dollars}, sparking political opposition on Capitol Hill.

Congress has already accredited $13.3 billion for the resettlement effort, which incorporates cash for the Pentagon in addition to the State Division and Division of Homeland Safety. However it repeatedly needed to overcome Republican opposition.

The primary half of the cash was included in a stopgap finances measure in September to maintain the federal government funded after challenges by Republicans who wished to place restrictions on the refugee spending. The second installment of $7 billion was handed Dec. 3 in one other stopgap invoice.

“Now Democrats need one other $7 billion for the Afghan resettlement course of on high of the $6 billion they’ve already spent within the final three months. For reference, Oklahoma’s whole finances is $8.83 billion — for a state of 4 million individuals,” Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla., mentioned in a press release when the funding laws was handed in December.

Quantico had been reimbursed $138 million of its $188 million price by the Protection Division by the point the final invoice handed Congress and was signed by President Joe Biden, in accordance with the DoD inspector normal report.

Seven extra bases supplied housing for the refugees following the Aug. 30 withdrawal from Afghanistan: Fort Lee and Fort Pickett, Virginia; Fort McCoy, Wisconsin; Fort Bliss, Texas; Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey; Holloman Air Drive Base, New Mexico; and Camp Atterbury, Indiana.

Afghans are nonetheless staying at 5 of these bases, Maj. Meg Harper, media chief for U.S. Northern Command, wrote in an e-mail Friday.

The DoD inspector normal is planning to audit the division’s complete housing effort, and the report this week is the primary installment in a collection.

The duty pressure arrange at Quantico included 924 DoD personnel, who had deliberate for a most of 5,000 refugees to maneuver via the bottom on their strategy to everlasting resettlement in communities throughout the U.S., in accordance with the IG, which despatched personnel to the bottom in September and adopted up in December.

Afghans had been moved into housing at Camp Upshur, an outdated officer candidate faculty used within the Nineteen Eighties. The duty pressure contracted for a second encampment of two large tents, one able to housing 2,000 refugees and the opposite, 1,000.

The “third encampment, named Pioneer Metropolis, consisted of 80 Marine Corps normal function tents and was able to housing 1,000 Afghan evacuees,” the report discovered.

All of the housing had electrical energy and web providers supplied by a donated substation. The refugees who stayed there had 4 eating services that served three sizzling meals every day. Base civil affairs personnel and non-governmental organizations hosted Afghan-led lessons on English, American tradition, hygiene and ladies’s well being.

There have been film nights, dance nights, and soccer and volleyball tournaments.

The duty pressure had three ambulances standing by and two touchdown zones for medical airlifts. Day-after-day for the primary month, it needed to transport Afghans off base to civilian hospitals for medical emergencies, together with pregnancies and a baby’s concussion.

About 150 Marines from 1st Battalion, tenth Marine Regiment, supplied safety to the Afghan refugee village at Quantico.

“Quantico had one main prison safety incident and it concerned an Afghan evacuee committing what seemed to be an illegal act with a baby,” the IG reported.

Safety personnel shortly determined the incident violated U.S. legislation and turned the refugee over to the FBI.

— Travis Tritten might be reached at travis.tritten@army.com. Comply with him on Twitter @Travis_Tritten.

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