Measles Cases Temporary Ban on US Arrivals of Refugees in Afghanistan

Measles Cases Temporary Ban on US Arrivals of Refugees in Afghanistan

WASHINGTON — The Biden administration halted flights carrying Afghan evacuees to the United States from military bases overseas after some new arrivals were discovered, the latest in a haphazard effort to aid allies hoping to flee the Taliban. Obstacle.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said Friday that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention requested that evacuation flights be temporarily suspended “out of caution” after four Afghans were found to have measles after arriving in the United States. Was. .

According to the Department of Homeland Security, as of Wednesday, the administration had evacuated more than 60,000 people from Afghanistan since August 17, most of whom were Afghans seeking asylum in the United States.

The suspension follows a chaotic evacuation that has left US civilians and thousands of Afghans in limbo as US forces complete their withdrawal from Afghanistan and the Taliban occupy Kabul, cutting off their control of the country. Is. Thousands of Afghans hoping to reach the United States are waiting at military bases in other countries, including a site in Doha, Qatar, where diplomats and military officials have reported worsening conditions and some health issues amid evacuations.

Ms. Saki said on Friday that four Afghans with measles were being kept in isolation and the CDC was pursuing contact tracing. All Afghan evacuees must be vaccinated for measles as a condition of entry into the United States.

“We are exploring ways to vaccinate people while they are still abroad,” Ms. Psaki said, adding that the suspension was “again, a step recommended by the CDC, given the four measles cases reported in the United States.” Caution was taken.”

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A White House official called the pause only temporary while the CDC assesses the extent of the measles problem.

The administration’s work to help Americans and Afghan allies leave Afghanistan was influenced by scenes of tragedy, including a suicide bombing that killed about 180 Afghans and 13 US military personnel at Kabul airport in the early days of the withdrawal. Were.

Most Americans have been evicted, although thousands of Afghan allies who risked their lives to help the US effort in Afghanistan remain behind.

The government estimates that there are 100 US citizens who want to stay in Afghanistan, Jalina Porter, the State Department’s deputy press secretary, said Friday.

On Thursday, the first international passenger flight since the evacuation of US troops took off from Hamid Karzai International Airport, carrying several American, Canadian and UK nationals. Another flight from Qatar Airways carrying 19 Americans departed on Friday, National Security Council spokeswoman Emily Horn said in a statement.

“Today’s departure demonstrates how we are giving Americans a clear and safe option to leave Afghanistan from a variety of locations,” Horne said.

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