Last group of Afghan national refugees departs Fort Bliss, completing Operation Allies Welcome

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EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – On Thursday, December 30, the last Afghan nationals temporarily housed at Doña Ana Village in the Fort Bliss Training Area departed the installation.

The Village is the third of eight Department of Defense (DoD) installations supporting the resettlement of Afghan nationals, also known as “safe havens,” to complete Fort. Bliss’ support of Operation Allies Welcome (OAW).

Fort Bliss and the 1st Armored Division have supported OAW since August 13 as part of the interagency team led by the Department of Homeland Security.

Upon notification from U.S. Northern Command, Fort Bliss established Doña Ana Village, originally a training camp used by soldiers. In weeks, they built a support capacity for 10,000 relocated Afghans. On August 21, the first group of relocated Afghans arrived at Biggs Army Airfield. For more than four months, federal agency employees, military service members, and volunteers provided exceptional care and support to approximately 11,400 total Afghans as they awaited resettlement across the country.

“We truly appreciated the outpouring of donations and voluntary efforts from the El Paso
and local New Mexico communities. This mission was truly a team effort that enabled over 11,000
Afghans to start a new chapter for themselves and their families in the United States.”

Maj. Gen. Sean C. Bernabe, Commanding
General of Fort Bliss

In late November, Task Force Bliss began consolidating living accommodations and support services while closing portions of Doña Ana Village portions. Even while reducing the size of the Village, the interagency task force focused heavily on the safety, security, and quality of life for the Afghan guests. Now that the final relocated Afghans have departed Fort Bliss, Doña Ana Training Complex will return to its original size and purpose. The Department of Defense continues its temporary support enabling the Department of State and interagency efforts to resettle Afghans across the United States as part of its support to the Department of Homeland Security-led Operation Allies Welcome.

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