What to Know
- Refugees from Afghanistan arrived at Philadelphia International Airport on Saturday.
- Philadelphia International Airport is the second airport in the nation to receive evacuees from Afghanistan.
- The evacuees may then be taken from the airport to a facility in Camden, New Jersey, before spending their first few days in the United States at a military base.
Refugees fleeing the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan arrived in Philadelphia Saturday, and they could spend at least their first few days in the United States at a military base.
A spokeswoman for Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney did not confirm the number of people who would arrive, but NBC10 cameras captured refugees arriving at Philadelphia International Airport, including a family with two children, one clutching a teddy bear.
Workers with the Red Cross, as well as U.S. service members, could be seen unloading crates of bottled water from a semi-truck and wheeling them into the airport.
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People with knowledge of the process told NBC10 that the refugees were medically examined and screened for COVID-19 after getting off the plane, and after getting food, water and necessities like baby diapers, they were escorted to a bus to be taken to a nearby military base.
“This is a federal-led operation, and we are collaborating with the federal government in this emergency response, protecting the rights and dignity of the Afghan families arriving in the country,” Kenney's spokeswoman said. “We stand ready to provide medical assistance, housing, and connection to our diverse community of immigrant service providers who can assist with an array of social services.”
Philly International is the second airport in the nation to receive arrivals from Afghanistan as part of the operation. Dulles International Airport in Virginia was the first.
“Philadelphia stands in solidarity with Afghan refugees and we look forward to providing them a safe haven in our Welcoming City,” Mayor Jim Kenney wrote in a statement.
Officials said a suicide bomber attacked crowds of Afghans flocking to Kabul's airport Thursday, transforming a scene of desperation into one of horror in the waning days of an airlift for those fleeing the Taliban takeover.
The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the killings on its Amaq news channel. The Taliban were not believed to have been involved in the attacks and condemned the blasts.
President Joe Biden said the latest bloodshed would not drive the U.S. out of Afghanistan earlier than scheduled, and that he had instructed the U.S. military to develop plans to strike IS.
Among the refugees are people who helped the U.S. government during the war in Afghanistan. They fear reprisal from a resurgent Taliban, as well as the loss of rights gained under the former U.S.-backed government.