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White House working to expedite Afghan resettlement as at least 12,500 remain on military bases

A day after U.S. forces completed its troop withdrawal from Afghanistan, refugees board a bus taking them to a processing center upon their arrival at Dulles International Airport in Dulles, Virginia, September 1, 2021.
Kevin Lamarque | Reuters

Nearly six months after the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, thousands of refugees who fled the country still reside on American military bases as they await visas to find permanent residences and work.

As of this week, 10,000 Afghans live on several military bases around the U.S., according to data obtained by CNBC and verified by the Department of Homeland Security. Some 2,500 are living on U.S. military bases overseas, including in Qatar.

On Monday, the Amir of Qatar will visit the White House to discuss plans to repatriate Afghan refugees to the U.S.

“There is more work to do, which is why we are exploring a variety of innovations to streamline the resettlement process and eliminate redundancies, while maintaining the robust health and screening and vetting processes that protect our homeland and American communities,” a spokesman for the National Security Council tells CNBC.

Congress has appropriated $13 billion for Operation Allies Welcome so far, according to a White House official. Roughly 65,000 Afghans who have arrived in the U.S. have moved off bases and resettled permanently in local communities.

President Joe Biden and the Qatari Amir will also discuss separate plans to reroute natural gas inventories to Europe.

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