National Guard unit to support Afghan refugee resettlement operations

BELEN, N.M. (AP) — A New Mexico Army National Guard unit is deploying within the United States to support resettlement operations for Afghan refugees.

A departure ceremony was held Friday for the Belen-based 919th Military Police Company, the guard said in a statement that didn’t specify where the unit’s soldiers would deploy.

Afghans resettling to the United States are being housed temporarily at eight military bases while obtaining special immigrant visas.

The bases include Holloman Air Force Base in southern New Mexico and the Army’s Fort Bliss in El Paso, Texas.

U,S. military officials have said there have been scattered reports of assaults, robbery and theft at some of the bases, including an assault on a female service member by several men at Fort Bliss.

According to the guard, the 919th’s soldiers “will conduct security operations and assist units that are already providing transportation, temporary housing, culturally appropriate food, medical screening, religious accommodations, and general support for over 50,000 Afghan guests.”

The Afghans include former interpreters and others who worked with the U.S. military in Afghanistan during the past two decades.

The guard called the deployment “an opportunity for the 919th to perform their duties in a critical real-world environment.”

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