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Afghan refugees heading to NJ military base, governor says

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy. (Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for MTV/TNS)

“A significant amount” of Afghanistan refugees will come to New Jersey as part of the military evacuation from the Taliban-controlled country, Gov. Phil Murphy said.

He didn’t have a precise number and knew only that the people were arriving “imminently,” Murphy said in a Trenton briefing on Monday. They will come to Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst in Burlington County via Dulles International Airport near Washington.

U.S. troops are under an Aug. 31 deadline to evacuate Americans and allies from the country after nearly 20 years of military engagement following the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks by Afghanistan-based al-Qaida terrorists.

America has authorized 34,500 visas, including 8,000 on July 30, for Afghan applicants who worked for the U.S. government. At least 13 countries have agreed to host those who are leaving the country for fear that they will face punishment by the Taliban, the militants who retook control of the government this month. On Monday, the White House said more than 16,000 people had been evacuated in the past day.

Murphy, 64, a onetime U.S. ambassador to Germany, on Sunday sent a letter to President Joe Biden, a fellow Democrat, indicating that he expects some newcomers to remain in the state.

“The Afghans we welcome to New Jersey, like so many refugee populations before them, will make enormous contributions to our state’s culture, community and economy,” Murphy wrote. “New Jersey will be better for having them.”

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