First look inside Fort McCoy reveals ‘a city for 13,000’ Afghan refugees

Ghani flew to Qatar, then Germany, where she spent several days sleeping in a hangar next to other women and children, many of them crying.

“I can’t forget those four or five nights,” she said. “Everything was horrible.”

Ghani said she’s grateful to be at Fort McCoy with her family. She said she’s connected with a group of journalists on base, and it’s “pretty nice here.”

Pageman, too, said he appreciates the help he received from Americans and is happy with the conditions at Fort McCoy. He hopes to move to Arizona and said he is ready to start his new life.

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Farzana Mohammadi, an Afghan national wheelchair basketball team player and Paralympic athlete, says she is excited for the opportunities she will have in the U.S.




Skye Justice, team lead at the U.S. Department of State for the Fort McCoy operation, said it’s the department’s “top priority” to get Afghan families resettled. Once the Afghans complete immigration processing and necessary medical screenings, they’ll be connected with one of roughly 200 nonprofit organizations, which will help them find housing and jobs in new communities across the nation.

“We’re now at a position where we expect to begin resettling larger numbers of people,” Justice said, but did not specify a timeline.

Farzana Mohammadi, 24, was a member of the Afghan women’s Paralympic wheelchair basketball team.

Speaking in Dari through an interpreter, Mohammadi said she decided to come to the U.S. because the Taliban would not have let her play basketball. America was the one country as a child that she always wanted to move to. She said she wants to play basketball and study to be a psychologist.



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