Oct 20, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Pentagon: About half of Afghan evacuees at U.S. bases are children

US navy soldiers helping evacuate Afghans

U.S. Navy soldiers helping evacuate Afghans. Photo: Cristina Quicler/AFP via Getty Images

Roughly half of the Afghan refugees housed temporarily at U.S. military bases are children under the age of 18, according to a letter from Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin to Sen. James Inhofe obtained by Axios.

Why it matters: This is among the many challenges when it comes to the government's Afghan resettlement effort.

According to Austin's letter, 34% of the refugee population were adult men and 22% were adult women.

Of note: The letter was dated Oct. 8. As of Tuesday, there were some 55,000 people at Department of Defense installations across eight sites, according to DHS officials.

  • DHS said 6% are U.S. citizens and 5% are lawful permanent residents. 89% are other Afghan nationals, including visa holders, special immigrant visa holders and applicants and other vulnerable Afghans.  

What they're saying: "I’m glad we finally have some of the answers my colleagues on the Senate Armed Services Committee and I have been asking for about who we evacuated and how the Department of Defense is supporting these evacuees," Inhofe wrote in a statement emailed to Axios.

  • "It’s clear the department faces challenges ahead in this regard, and I intend to watch this process closely," Inhofe added.
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