US: Afghan evacuee flights halted from two key bases

The U.S. has halted all U.S.-bound flights of Afghan evacuees from two main bases overseas for unspecified “health safety concerns,” a move U.S. officials warn will have a severe impact on the evacuation operation, according to a U.S. government document seen Friday by The Associated Press.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection made the decision on the recommendation of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to halt the flights from U.S. bases in Germany and Qatar, according to the document.

The U.S. has been conducting screening and other processing of evacuees at those two main overseas sites and others after evacuating them from Afghanistan.

The halting of the flights is a problem for the United States in part because many of the evacuees already have been at the Ramstein military base longer than the 10-day limit Germany set in allowing the U.S. to use the country as a transit site.

The U.S document viewed by the AP said the halt would “severely impact” operations at the U.S. base in Germany and have an “adverse effect” on the nearly 10,000 evacuees at Ramstein, many of whom have been there more than 10 days and are increasingly fatigued.

The U.S. State Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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