'One of the largest air lifts in history of the U.S.': Northam gives updates on Virginia resettling people from Afghanistan

US Afghanistan
US Afghanistan
Posted at 11:57 AM, Aug 27, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-27 16:33:33-04

Evacuation flights from Afghanistan resumed Friday with new urgency a day after a suicide bombings targeted the thousands of desperate people fleeing the Taliban takeover and killed more than 100.

U.S. military officials now say there was only one explosion during the deadly attack outside the Kabul airport on Thursday, after initially reporting two.

Governor Northam gave updates on Virginia's efforts to resettle people from Afghanistan on Friday as well.

He said no direct flights are coming from Afghanistan to the U.S. but that they are coming from Kuwait, Qatar, Spain, Germany and Bulgaria.

One point of entry for these flights is Dulles International Airport in Virginia, and Philadelphia will be receiving some flights soon as well.

Northam said as of 7 a.m., Friday morning 14,000 people have arrived through Dulles and all were commercial flights. Five more flights will be coming in Friday as well.

He said the two groups of people coming in are U.S. and non-U.S. citizens, so Virginia activated the Commonwealth Repatriation Plan on August 14 when Kabul fell to the Taliban. This plan aims to provide temporary assistance to U.S. citizens and dependents.

U.S. citizens go through immigrations and customs, then get a COVID-19 test before going on their way, Northam said. The repatriation center is available in Dulles.

Non-U.S. citizens go to a transfer point at the Dulles Expo Center.

Northam addressed COVID-19 concerns and said less than 20 people arriving have tested positive for COVID-19. He said they are thinking of setting up a mass vaccination site for non-U.S. citizens.

People who need a place to go can go to Fort Pickett, Northam said. Capacity is 3,800, and the first people will arrive Saturday. They can also go to Quantico and the capacity there is 1,000 people. The first people will arrive Sunday at Quantico.

Northam added that this is one of the largest air lifts in the history of the United States.

Related: Virginia leaders share statements on Afghanistan