Military bases had $260M in damages from Afghan evacuation

Dec 22, 2022, 8:53 PM | Updated: Dec 23, 2022, 11:00 am
FILE - Afghan refugee women register to be seen by a doctor inside the medical tent at Liberty Vill...

FILE - Afghan refugee women register to be seen by a doctor inside the medical tent at Liberty Village on Joint Base McGuire-Dix- Lakehurst, N.J., on Dec, 2, 2021. Military bases that housed tens of thousands of Afghan refugees after the U.S. airlifted them out of Kabul last year incurred almost $260 million in damages that in some cases rendered buildings unusable for troops until they get significant repairs to walls and plumbing, the Pentagon’s inspector general found. Tens of thousands of Afghan refugees were flown to eight military bases in the U.S. where many of them lived for months while they waited fro visa processing and resettlement. (Barbara Davidson/Pool via AP, File)

(Barbara Davidson/Pool via AP, File)

              FILE - Children play with stones at an Afghan refugees camp on Joint Base McGuire Dix Lakehurst, N.J., Sept. 27, 2021. Military bases that housed tens of thousands of Afghan refugees after the U.S. airlifted them out of Kabul last year incurred almost $260 million in damages that in some cases rendered buildings unusable for troops until they get significant repairs to walls and plumbing, the Pentagon’s inspector general found. Tens of thousands of Afghan refugees were flown to eight military bases in the U.S. where many of them lived for months while they waited fro visa processing and resettlement. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File)
            
              FILE - Afghan refugee women register to be seen by a doctor inside the medical tent at Liberty Village on Joint Base McGuire-Dix- Lakehurst, N.J., on Dec, 2, 2021. Military bases that housed tens of thousands of Afghan refugees after the U.S. airlifted them out of Kabul last year incurred almost $260 million in damages that in some cases rendered buildings unusable for troops until they get significant repairs to walls and plumbing, the Pentagon’s inspector general found. Tens of thousands of Afghan refugees were flown to eight military bases in the U.S. where many of them lived for months while they waited fro visa processing and resettlement. (Barbara Davidson/Pool via AP, File)
            FILE - U.S. Military Police walk past Afghan refugees at the Village at the Ft. McCoy U.S. Army base on  Sept. 30, 2021 in Ft. McCoy, Wis.  Military bases that housed tens of thousands of Afghan refugees after the U.S. airlifted them out of Kabul last year incurred almost $260 million in damages that in some cases rendered buildings unusable for troops until they get significant repairs to walls and plumbing, the Pentagon's inspector general found. Tens of thousands of Afghan refugees were flown to eight military bases in the U.S. where many of them lived for months while they waited fro visa processing and resettlement. (Barbara Davidson/Pool Photo via AP, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Military bases that housed tens of thousands of Afghan refugees in the U.S. incurred almost $260 million in damages that in some cases rendered buildings unusable for troops until significant repairs to walls and plumbing are made, the Pentagon’s inspector general found.

Over the last two weeks of August 2021, the U.S. Air Force managed the largest humanitarian evacuation in its history, airlifting 120,000 people from Afghanistan in just 17 days. The bulk of those passengers were Afghans fleeing Taliban rule, and U.S. aircraft delivered tens of thousands of those Afghans initially to bases in Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Spain, Italy, Bahrain and Germany.

After processing, many of the refugees were flown to eight military bases in the U.S., where many were housed for months as they awaited visa processing and resettlement; the last Afghan refugee left military housing in February.

The refugees were housed at Fort Bliss, Texas; Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey; Fort McCoy, Wisconsin.; Camp Atterbury, Indiana; Fort Pickett, Fort Lee, and Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia; and Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico.

The sheer volume of people in the temporary housing left those barracks and buildings with significant wear and tear, the inspector general found.

In one case, training for the Indiana National Guard was relocated from Camp Atterbury to Fort Campbell, Kentucky, due to damages caused during “Operation Allies Welcome.” The facilities need to be restored “to a condition that enables them to conduct trainings, prepare for future events, and return to normal base operations,” the IG found.

For example, of the $260 million in approved restoration costs, the Defense Department approved about $16 million for Camp Atterbury “to replace mattresses and furniture and repair floors, doors, windows, plumbing, fire alarm systems, and landscaping.”

But the inspector general questioned whether all the repair work requested by the eight bases was connected to the refugees’ stay.

For example, Fort McCoy, which housed 12,706 refugees, was approved for $145.6 million to repair buildings and plumbing, an amount that was more than three times the combined restoration needs of Fort Bliss and Fort Pickett, which had housed similar numbers of refugees.

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Military bases had $260M in damages from Afghan evacuation