Holcomb updates progress in resettlement of Afghan refugees

By Ryan Trares | Daily Journal

For the Republic

CAMP ATTERBURY — Strength and bravery rang out clearly as the story unfolded.

Nahid Sharifi had been forced to flee Afghanistan as the Taliban closed in on her home. In the chaos, she was separated from her family, first from her mother, brother and sister at the airport in Kabul, then from her sister and family during a change of flight in Germany. She had arrived in the United States scared and alone, with the life she had known in tatters.

But as a refugee at Camp Atterbury, she finally had a vision of what her new life in the United States could look like. She was thankful for the overwhelming support she and her fellow Afghan refugees had received thus far.

“The people of the United States have a heart of gold. Thank you so much for everything,” Sharifi said. “In a difficult situation, they never left Afghan people alone.”

For the past three months, about 7,200 refugees from Afghanistan have come to Camp Atterbury facing similar situations. Through the mission known as Operation Allies Welcome, the goal has been to help the guests prepare and establish their new beginning in communities throughout the country.

Officials involved with the process from the Department of Homeland Security to the resettlement organization Exodus Refugee Immigration to Gov. Eric Holcomb hosted a briefing Tuesday to shed light on the scope of the operation.

With resettlement processes at Camp Atterbury expected to wind down around the start of 2022, much work has been accomplished, but much remains.

“There’s been so much pride and passion here, and it’s a reminder of all of our purpose while we’re here is to help one another, to help our neighbors,” Holcomb said. “As far away as they’ve come from, they are here at home in Indiana and in this country.”

For the complete story, see Wednesday’s Republic.