United States, Tom Bowman, Virginia discussed on Morning Edition


Thousands of refugees from the war in Afghanistan have now arrived in the United States most land in Virginia and are brought to the Dulles Expo Center, a cavernous building just outside of Washington, D C. NPR's Tom Bowman covered the U. S involvement in Afghanistan's war from the beginning to now, and he has an exclusive look inside the facility. Just a few weeks ago, the Dulles Expo Center hosted everything from home shows the flea markets to gun shows. Now It's a welcoming center for the largest airlift of refugees in American history. There are hundreds of state Department D O d u S I, D and T s a in this building at any one time. They're running three shifts a day. 24 7, So we're really running a small village here. This is Tressa Rae Affinity, deputy executive secretary of the State Department. She's a woman in charge of this enormous effort, and she hasn't gotten a lot of sleep. Lately. She's showing us around walking past the cluster of women with Children in tow and men on cell phones. And then this is my favorite spot. Maybe we stop here for just a second. Crayon drawing stretch out the tall wall. Boys and girls toss balls with a volunteer from the humanitarian group. Save the Children. A huge cardboard boxes flattened. Laid out and serves as a drawing board. My favorite use of recycled box is probably the best I've ever seen. Besides a kids corner, there's sleeping cards Cafeteria, a medical unit. Large processing hall that looks like an airport terminal. The flow of people is constant. We had approximately 29,000. Afghans come through the dullest space and move on to their forward bases. There's still more than 30,000 to come. Everyone is given a wristband based on their medical condition or immigration status. Some of the Afghans here work for the U. S military or its NATO partners that were granted a special immigrant visa in a path to citizenship number has yes, as them people like Fawzia from Kabul. We're only using her first name for her protection. She's 52 had a career in telecommunications. Her husband and sons were for years with the U. S military here. She is talking through our interpreter up now, madam. So, she says, Since my two son and my husband, they served America since 22 years, they helped them. So now she wants a better life here like Peaceful life for me and for my kids. Other Afghans here might have a long wait in an unknown future arriving the US on humanitarian grounds They were young adults separated from their parents with no paperwork. Others have just scraps of paper. They can apply for asylum or wait until Congress offices special legal status like it did for those fleeing the aftermath of the Vietnam War. Despite the unknowns, young Afghans arriving in America are hopeful mask that 22 year old Hami dual elect a good life in Kabul, but his dad worked for the Americans. It was no longer safe. Now he hopes he can continue his education and electrical engineering mistime images and they give better. That's the question, but he wished so He can continue his studies here because he was in university there and he says, if one day Afghanistan gets better, he wants to go back again. They all left Afghanistan, first traveling through the Middle East before arriving at one of several U. S bases in Europe. That's where the top U. S. Officer General Mark Milley, recently watched the medical and security screening process and met with some Afghans heading for dollars. What's your name? Officials say of the thousands who went through Ramstein Air Base, only a small number of being detained how many real actual Suspected members of some sort of terrorist or criminal group. Those numbers have been very low so far, and I have confidence in the FBI have confidence in the DHS system. General Milley spent years committing troops in Afghanistan, He acknowledged the war didn't turn out as many of them hoped. One is a feeling of disappointment of the outcome. Painful questions. Was it all worth it? What? It was it all about On the other side, the idea that we just liberated 124,000 people and they're giving them an opportunity to be free. The Sea of Green cards to the Dulles Expo Center. A small, shy girl approaches us. She's wearing a pink sweater with gold stars. Her hair is in a neat bun, held together by a baby blue scrunchie. Miti's When it's her.

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