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(Tribune News Service) — Indiana's Camp Atterbury will temporarily house Afghan evacuees as part of Operation Allies Refuge, the Indiana National Guard announced Tuesday.

Gov. Eric Holcomb was supportive of the efforts to house refugees who had worked with U.S. service members and diplomats at the military and civilian training post, located 40 miles south of Indianapolis.

"As Hoosiers, we are proud to do our part and provide a temporary home for Afghan evacuees who have supported this nation," Holcomb said in a statement. "Our federal partners are taking necessary and appropriate steps to establish that there is a smooth process to allow these men, women and children to quickly find their permanent home across the United States. I have faith in the Indiana National Guard's ability to support this federal mission."

Camp Atterbury, Fort Pickett, Marine Corps Base Quantico and Fort Lee in Virginia; Fort Bliss, Texas; Fort McCoy, Wisconsin.; Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico.; and Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst in New Jersey will provide temporary housing and support to a total of 50,000 Afghans.

According to the release from the Indiana National Guard, active-duty and National Guard service members will provide housing, medical, logistics and transportation when the Afghans arrive.

The date has not yet been set.

"Our Hoosier Guardsmen are honored to join our fellow Americans to help, assist and host Afghans who played an integral part and helped us for nearly 20 years," Brig. Gen. Dale Lyles, Indiana National Guard adjutant general, said in a statement. "We also look forward to working alongside our active-duty counterparts, and members of national, state, and local agencies as we support the Department of Homeland Security mission."

U.S. Rep. Greg Pence tweeted that Camp Atterbury will be built up to have the capacity to house approximately 5,000 people.

He promised to "closely monitor this situation."

Indiana made headlines six years ago when then Gov. Mike Pence, Congressman Greg Pence's brother, suspended the resettlement of Syrian refugees in Indiana in the wake of the November 2015 terrorist attacks in Paris that left 130 people dead, joining governors from at least 15 other states.

"Indiana has a long tradition of opening our arms and homes to refugees from around the world but, as governor, my first responsibility is to ensure the safety and security of all Hoosiers," Pence said in a statement at the time.

A U.S. district judge later ruled that state officials were prohibited from withholding federal grant money to a nonprofit that aided refugees.



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