Ramstein Air Base has become the largest camp accommodating thousands of evacuees from Afghanistan | Photo: picture-alliance
Ramstein Air Base has become the largest camp accommodating thousands of evacuees from Afghanistan | Photo: picture-alliance

Around 17,000 refugees from Afghanistan are at American military bases in Germany waiting for onward transport to the United States.

US military officials said Thursday (September 2) that about 12,000 Afghans were currently being checked at Ramstein Air Base in western Germany. Another 5,000 Afghans were currently at Rhine Ordnance Barracks in Kaiserslautern, not far from Ramstein, the commander of US forces in Europe, General Tod Wolters, told journalists via videolink from the Pentagon in Washington. Around 4,300 Afghans were at US bases in Italy and Spain, he added.

Around 13,500 people have already been transferred from Ramstein to the United States or other countries, according to dpa.

Wolters said people are checked twice before they continue their journey to the US -- once upon arrival and another time shortly before departure, the news agency dpa reported. According to Wolters one suspicious person has been tracked and is now in custody. The general did not give any further details about the man -- only that he was not "of a high threat."

Wolters generally praised what he called the "one hundred percent support" of the German, Italian and Spanish authorities.

The Afghan refugees are initially accommodated in tents and aircraft hangars in Ramstein or bases in the United States. They are registered and given medical treatment as necessary.

The Afghan evacuation to Ramstein air base has been the largest airlift in US history. In recent days, US aircraft have been arriving mostly from Qatar, where the refugees from Afghanistan were initially taken.

More than 130 planes carrying evacuees have arrived at Ramstein Air Base so far.

Poland temporary host to 500 Afghans

Poland has announced that it will temporarily host 500 Afghan evacuees who worked for NATO in Afghanistan. A government official, Michal Dworczyk, said on Friday that the Afghans will remain in Poland for up to three months before moving on to other countries. 

The first group of around 250 people were to arrive from Ramstein on Friday, Dworczyk told Radio RMF FM. Up to 50 people will be able to settle in Poland, he said.

Separately, Poland has evacuated some 1,300 people from Kabul, mostly Afghans, who had worked with Poland's military and diplomatic mission, and their families.

With dpa, AP

 

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