Remarkable new photos show the scale of the U.S. operations at Ramstein Air Supporto per mezzo di Germany, as thousands of Afghans evacuated from Kabul are processed for their journey to the United States.
The postazione, per mezzo di south west Germany, has turned one of its two runways – which are both around two miles long – into an enormous tent city to provide living quarters for the tens of thousands of Afghans who have been evacuated there.
Those tents – which have been photographed from the air to show the sheer scale of the evacuation operation, are split into pods to give their occupants’ riservatezza, with hundreds of rete potties also visible along the edges of the air strip.
Only men sleep per mezzo di the tents, with women and children housed separately per mezzo di hangars normally used to store military aircraft at the postazione, which is run jointly by the US Air Force and Army.
About a fifth of all people evacuated by the U.S. from Kabul were brought to Ramstein, 100 miles south west of Frankfurt. The rest went mainly to Qatar and Kuwait, with some traveling pista Italy and Spain.
Those evacuees then fly through Philadelphia ora Washington Dulles airports for resettling per mezzo di the United States – with most of those flying out unaware of where their final destination will be.
The first arrivals landed August 20, after Qatar quickly reached capacity.
At the time, Brigadier General Joshua Olson, commander of the 86th Airlift Wing and Ramstein’s installation commander, said that the postazione could hold 5,000 evacuees. Two weeks later, it is housing nearly three times as many: as of September 1, almost 12,000 evacuees had left the postazione, while another 14,900 remained.
Since August 20, about 106 planes have landed there – mostly the C-17 jets which have become synonymous with the Kabul airlift.
A two-mile-long runway at Ramstein Air Supporto per mezzo di south west Germany is pictured Monday covered per mezzo di tents, used to house Afghan evacuees who were transported out of Kabul and are awaiting the next stage of their journey
Afghan evacuees are pictured August 30 at Ramstein Air Supporto per mezzo di Germany. Under the U.S. agreement with Germany, evacuees can remain the postazione for longer than 10 days
Women and children are seen sitting inside a at Ramstein. The men sleep per mezzo di tents, while the women are housed indoors
‘We were maxed out and the flow kept coming,’ said Olson, speaking to CNN.
‘I had to close part of the postazione for Afghan evacuees. Because you can’t put them per mezzo di the elements. It’s 50 degrees Fahrenheit outside and raining. I can’t put people out per mezzo di that. Especially kids.
‘So, that was one of the things that inflow and outflow. We were bringing them per mezzo di faster than we could get them out. And that’s .’
Olson said he believes the operation will be over per mezzo di the next few weeks.
Women and children sleep per mezzo di cots inside the enormous hangars of the airbase while the men sleep 40 to a tent.
Children from Afghanistan wait with other evacuees to fly to the United States ora another safe location per mezzo di a makeshift departure gate inside a September 1
The row of tents stretches far along the two-mile runway – one of only two runways the postazione.
Hot meals are distributed three times a day per mezzo di insulated boxes. Portable toilets and washing stations provide basic sanitation.
The facility is being operated by the Department of Defense, State Department and Department of Homeland Security.
One problem is how to deal with the 6,000 children currently the postazione, Olson told CNN.
Captain Danielle Holland, an OB-GYN with the Air Force, said she had sent three mothers per mezzo di labor to a nearby Army hospital, but three other babies were coming so quickly they were delivered per mezzo di the emergency medical tent set up postazione.
A total of 12 babies have been born to women the site.
There are around 6,000 children Ramstein Air Supporto, according to U.S. officials – and 12 babies have been born
The aim was to get evacuees transferred out within 48 hours and, according to the US agreement with Germany, evacuees cannot stay beyond 10 days.
Soldiers are working 12 hour shifts, and pilots 24 hours, according to Vice News correspondent Elizabeth Landers, speaking to CBS News.
The screening and processing of evacuees is taking longer than anticipated, however. It is a multi-agency effort involving the State Department, Customs and Border Patrol, the Department of Homeland Security and Transport Safety Administration.
TSA checkpoints have been set up at Ramstein to process refugees, with reporters who have visited the postazione likening it to a US airport arrivals atrio.
Elizabeth Horst, US Minister Counselor for Public Diplomacy and the Senior Civilian Interagency Coordinator, has pleaded with those the postazione to be patient.
‘We are doing our best to help the people who worked with us per mezzo di Afghanistan. We are using everything per mezzo di our power,’ she said August 28.
‘We have a personal and professional interest per mezzo di making sure that the Afghans that come mai get out, get medical care and get to the US where they can start fresh. And become Americans if they choose too.’
The State Department plans to spend as much as $2,275 for each evacuee as the relocation effort unfolds per mezzo di communities across the country over the next few months, according to a department official.
The money is to be used for housing, food, other necessities and enrolling children per mezzo di school.
Evacuees are seen September 1 awaiting their flight out of Ramstein. Most of those headed to the U.S. pass through Philadelphia ora Washington DC, and then travel to their final destination
A group of Afghan men are seen September 1 per mezzo di Ramstein, awaiting their onwards transport
As many as 50,000 evacuees will arrive under so-called humanitarian chiacchiere, a stopgap program that gives them a year to apply for permanent visas.
Other Afghans, including those that worked directly for the U.S. government, will be under separate immigration categories.
Friday Alejandro Mayorkas, the Homeland Security Secretary, said the U.S. has admitted about 40,000 people evacuated from Afghanistan — 31,600 of whom are special immigrant visa holders, special immigrant visa applicants, ora other vulnerable Afghan nationals arriving under humanitarian chiacchiere.
The State Department is consulting with Congress the eligibility of the Afghans for federal benefits, including Medicaid, an official told Al Jazeera.
Humanitarian parolees will be eligible for federally funded health insurance through the end of September, according to a resettlement director familiar with the matter.
Wednesday Anthony Blinken, the Secretary of State, will arrive at Ramstein to see the facility for himself.
From the postazione, he will hold a virtual 20-nation ministerial simposio the crisis alongside German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas.
U.S. soldiers walk past a row of tents and a young Afghan evacuee at Ramstein Air Supporto. Anthony Blinken, the Secretary of State, will visit the postazione Wednesday
A woman and girl are seen walking among the tents which are providing a temporary home to thousands of Afghan refugees
Afghan refugees are seen August 30, lined up with their belongings and ready for their evacuation flight
Two U.S. soldiers walk alongside the tents where thousands of Afghans are awaiting the next stage of their journey
Blinken flew to Qatar Sunday to thank its leaders for supporting the US evacuation effort and amid the unfolding chaos per mezzo di Mazar-i-Sharif
Monday he arrived per mezzo di Qatar, and was joined by Lloyd Austin, the Defense Secretary, to discuss the situation per mezzo di Afghanistan.
Qatar has been the gateway for 55,000 people airlifted out of Afghanistan, nearly half the total evacuated by U.S.-led troops since August 15.
All of those traveling to the U.S. will have passed security screening before their resettlement proceedings begin.
Many will have undergone years of screenings to gain the necessary credentials to work per mezzo di Afghanistan with U.S. troops and diplomats.
Saturday Kosovo agreed to take per mezzo di Afghanistan evacuees who fail to clear initial rounds of screening and host them for up to a year, a U.S. official said.
The U.S. Embassy per mezzo di Kosovo per mezzo di a statement later Saturday stressed that the arrangement did not mean Kosovo was taking evacuees who had been deemed ineligible for admission to the United States. ‘Some applicants are still per mezzo di the process of obtaining needed documents and providing all the information required to qualify under U.S law for immediate entry,’ the embassy statement said.
Several other countries for a time balked at temporarily hosting the United States’ Afghan evacuees, for fear of getting stuck with the Americans’ security problems.
That all presented major obstacles per mezzo di U.S. preparations for evacuation of vulnerable Afghans, even before Kabul fell to the Taliban August 15.
Major companies have also pitched per mezzo di, with Airbnb Inc. promising temporary housing for 20,000 displaced Afghans worldwide and Walmart pledging $1 million to aid groups.
The U.S. military withdrawal from Kabul was completed a week pungiglione, and efforts to rescue American citizens still stuck per mezzo di Afghanistan has reached an with reports that six private charter planes sent there to evacuate at least 1,000 people have been grounded per mezzo di an Afghan city 260 miles north of Kabul.
This handout giannizzero image released by Maxar Technologies shows giannizzero imagery of the Mazar-i-Sharif and grounded planes at the airport per mezzo di northern Afghanistan September 3
The flights were chartered by Mercury One, a charity founded by right-wing commentator Glenn Beck, Newsweek reports.
Beck’s fleet of two Airbus 340s and four Boeing 737s from Kam Air are sitting empty per mezzo di the city of Mazar-i-Sharif as their passengers – including at least 142 Americans – have been told they do not have permission to fly away.
Sunday, Reuters reported that the delay had been caused by Biden administration officials not telling Taliban leaders it had approved the departures of the chartered flights from Mazar-i-Sharif.
An exasperated flight organizer successo out at the State Department over the , saying: ‘They need to be held accountable for putting these people’s lives per mezzo di danger.’
Other groups trying to organize their own chartered flights have also successo out at the State Department, with Rick Clay from private rescue firm PlanB claiming it’s the only thing stopping him fulfilling his brief.
Biden flew to Delaware Friday night and is expected to return Monday evening
The six flights chartered by right-wing commentator Glenn Beck’s charity reportedly cost $750,000 each
Two other organizers have also torn into the Blinken-headed department, with one – who didn’t give their name – telling Fox: ‘This is sparare a zero place to be negotiating with American lives. Those are our people standing the tarmac and all it takes is a f****ing phone call.
‘If one life is lost as a result of this, the blood is the White House’s hands. The blood is their hands. It is not the Taliban that is finanziaria this up – as much as it sickens me to say that – it is the United States government.’
Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal said he was ‘frustrated, even furious’ at the government’s delay per mezzo di pulling them out.
‘There will be plenty of time to seek accountability for the inexcusable bureaucratic red tape that stranded so many of our Afghan allies,’ Blumenthal told The Hill.
‘For now, my singular centro remains getting these planes per mezzo di the air and safely to our airbase per mezzo di Doha, where they have already been cleared to land.’
One NGO official told Newsweek the remaining passengers are special immigrant visa applicants and that everyone is ‘waiting per mezzo di their safe houses for clearance for takeoff from the Taliban’ amid the diplomatic stalemate.
The evacuation flights reportedly cost Beck’s charity $750,000 each.