Measles Cases Bring Temporary Halt to Afghanistan Refugee Arrivals in US

WASHINGTON — The Biden administration halted flights carrying Afghan evacuees to the United States from army bases abroad after discovering a number of of the brand new arrivals had measles, the most recent hurdle in a haphazard effort to help allies hoping to flee the Taliban.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention requested that the evacuation flights be quickly suspended “out of an abundance of caution” after 4 Afghans have been discovered to have measles after arriving in the United States, the White House press secretary, Jen Psaki, mentioned on Friday.

As of Wednesday, the administration had evacuated greater than 60,000 folks from Afghanistan since Aug. 17, in accordance to the Department of Homeland Security, most of them Afghans looking for sanctuary in the United States.

The suspension follows a chaotic evacuation that has left American residents and 1000’s of Afghans in limbo after the U.S. army accomplished its withdrawal from Afghanistan and the Taliban seized Kabul, sealing their management of the nation. Thousands of Afghans hoping to attain the United States are ready at army bases in different international locations, together with a web site in Doha, Qatar, the place diplomats and army officers have reported worsening situations and a few well being points amongst evacuees.

Ms. Psaki mentioned on Friday that the 4 Afghans with measles have been being quarantined and that the C.D.C. was pursuing contact tracing. All Afghan evacuees have to be vaccinated for measles as a situation of entry to the United States.

“We are also exploring measures to vaccinate people while they are still overseas,” Ms. Psaki mentioned, including that the suspension “was, again, a step recommended by the C.D.C. out of an abundance of caution given four measles cases.”

A White House official described the halt as solely momentary whereas the C.D.C. assesses the extent of the measles downside.

The administration’s work to assist Americans and Afghan allies depart Afghanistan was punctuated by scenes of tragedy, together with a suicide bombing that killed about 180 Afghans and 13 U.S. army personnel on the Kabul airport in the preliminary days of the withdrawal.

Most Americans have been flown out, though tens of 1000’s of Afghan allies who risked their lives to assist the U.S. effort in Afghanistan have been left behind.

The authorities estimates 100 American residents who need to depart stay in Afghanistan, Jalina Porter, deputy press secretary for the State Department, mentioned on Friday.

On Thursday, the primary worldwide passenger flight departed Hamid Karzai International Airport because the exit of American troops, carrying scores of Americans, Canadians and Britons. Another flight from Qatar Airways carrying 19 Americans left on Friday, Emily Horne, a spokeswoman for the National Security Council, mentioned in an announcement.

“Today’s departures demonstrate how we are giving Americans clear and safe options to leave Afghanistan from different locations,” Ms. Horne mentioned.