The influx of Afghan evacuees into Qatar has left many crowded in the hot hangar

Doha, Qatar-The large number of civilians fleeing Afghanistan has threatened that the air base here is overwhelmed. Many evacuees are crowded in the sultry hangar without enough toilets and showers, as US officials scramble to expand capacity and are in Afghanistan Open a new receiving point. Middle East and Europe.
On Friday, when conditions at the Qatar base were likely to reach dangerous levels, the military temporarily suspended flights from the still chaotic Kabul Airport. Civilians at the base said that some were moved to trailers and tents elsewhere in the facility, and others boarded flights to processing facilities in the United States and elsewhere. Flights to Doha were resumed on Friday night.
“I haven’t slept for four days and four nights,” said 31-year-old Sayed Harris Khelwati, who arrived on a U.S. C-17 on Wednesday night. “There is no crib for everyone. You just need to lie down.”
Khelwati, who was contacted by telephone on Saturday, said that as the number of arrivals increased, officials were unable to let them through, and the situation became more serious. He posted a video showing that almost every square foot of this huge building is crowded with people sitting, squatting and lying in plastic bags and suitcases.
He said that while military personnel tried to maintain order with loudspeakers, some evacuees tried to rush to the processing line. He said that during the peak of congestion on Friday night, when the temperature outside the metal hangar was still 94 degrees, some evacuees held signs that read “I can’t breathe”.
“We really appreciate the soldiers,” Khelwati said. “But there are only a lot of setbacks. You lost your country, and some people even got here without a backpack. We don’t have any information about where or when we are going.”
He said the situation eased slightly on Saturday, which appeared to be due to faster processing and slower flow of new arrivals.
A US government official who asked not to be named stated that the military has increased the number of mobile toilets for evacuees, ordered 175, increased the number of beds in air-conditioned spaces to 3,000, and increased the number of transport toilets. Water bottle.
The chaos reflects the extent to which the US government was caught off guard by General Mark A Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who described this week as one of the largest civilian evacuations in US military history. President Biden said on Friday that since August 14th, about 13,000 people have been airlifted from Afghanistan, compared with 5,000 in the previous two weeks because of the lightning takeover of the country by Taliban forces. This flow is expected to continue for several weeks.
Officials are working to improve the ability of evacuees to handle all stages of the system, find more places for the Afghans who took off from Kabul to land, find the personnel to deal with them, and then look for a second location to take them there.
Bill Urban, a spokesperson for the US Central Command in Tampa, said officials are working with other military bases, the State Department, Customs and Border Protection, and third countries to find other places to house the evacuees. They also delivered more supplies to the Qatar base, including sanitary facilities and air-conditioned tents.
“This is a dual effort to improve the conditions there and push people forward as soon as possible,” he said.
The backlog at any stage of the global chain can trigger humanitarian collapse or violence. For example, according to a person who cooperated with the U.S. government to coordinate evacuation, the suspension of evacuation on Friday quickly exacerbated congestion in Kabul, with more than 10,000 people crowded on the military side of the airport earlier on Saturday. Due to the sensitivity of the issue, a defense official who asked not to be named stated that the number of people evacuated from the airport increased from about 10,000 on Friday, but declined to say how big the crowd was on Saturday.
A person working with the US government on the evacuation said that before the plane resumed takeoff, officials closed the gate to the part of the airport. He declined to be named because he had no right to comment. It is not clear whether the gate will reopen later on Saturday.
The U.S. government official stated that the boarding gate was closed intermittently due to the full capacity of the airport. However, he said, “We have established procedures to receive any U.S. citizen who arrives at the boarding gate and informs us of their location.”
Bahrain announced on Friday that its Isa Air Base will begin to receive evacuees, and the United Arab Emirates said it will temporarily relocate 5,000 Afghans at the request of Washington. The U.S. Ramstein Air Base in Germany posted photos of themselves preparing for the upcoming Afghans on Twitter.
In Doha, officials are trying to load outbound planes into the United States or a third country to keep up with planes landing from Kabul. At least some flights have landed at Dulles International Airport in Washington.
Currently, the first stop for most Afghans fleeing Taliban violence is still the hangar in Qatar. Many people arrive on crowded military flights without belongings or even passports. According to reporters who witnessed this process, those with American passports passed the fastest, and some were put on the bus for the outbound flight almost immediately.
For others, this process is slower. Many people who are waiting are in the final stages of obtaining special immigrant visas. This is a fast way to immigrate to the United States and only applies to people working for the US military or government in Afghanistan.
Khelwati, an IT worker from Virginia, has been visiting relatives in Afghanistan and holds a US green card. He said that until Friday, when the processing speed increases, he will be able to pass the evaluation system for a few days. After queuing at 6 pm, he was interviewed at 4 am on Saturday and his fingerprints were taken. He was then transferred to the second hangar, less crowded and cool, waiting to take off.
For some people, what they left behind makes the discomfort and waiting worse. Their livelihoods and homes were suddenly lost, and in some cases, so did their families.
On Wednesday, when 30-year-old Samiuola Nasiri walked into the hangar, he immediately began looking for his wife and children. They were separated at a Taliban checkpoint near the airport when his wife was too scared. She told Nasiri that he was in danger because he was working in a residential area where Americans and other foreigners lived, and went on. He had hoped that she could find another way out.
“I cried during the whole flight,” he said while standing at the registration desk holding the child’s ID, his shirt stained with blood from the fight with Taliban fighters. He could not find a trace of them.
Dispatching from Afghanistan: Entering Kabul Airport to escape the dangerous journey of Taliban-controlled Afghanistan
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Post time: Aug-25-2021