US gives 1st public look inside base housing Afghans

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EL PASO, Texas (AP) — The Biden administration on Friday provided the first public look inside a U.S. military base where Afghans airlifted out of Afghanistan are screened, amid questions about how the government is caring for the refugees and vetting them.

The three-hour tour of Fort Bliss Army base in El Paso, Texas, was the first time the media has been granted broad access to one of the eight military installations housing Afghans who were evacuated after the Taliban took control of the country as the U.S. withdrew its troops last month.

On Friday, Afghan children with soccer balls and basketballs played outside large white tents. One young girl was still wearing dirty clothing.

Some 50,000 Afghans are expected to be admitted to the United States, including translators, drivers and others who helped the U.S. military during the 20-year war there and feared reprisals by the Taliban.

Members of Congress have questioned whether the screening is thorough enough. Many of the Afghans who worked for the U.S. government have undergone years of vetting already.

Farnoush Amiri, The Associated Press

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