Almost half of the 53,000 Afghan refugees that have arrived in the US and are living at military facilities are children, according to a report published Thursday.
The disclosure was made in a letter from Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin to lawmakers that was obtained by the Wall Street Journal newspaper. The letter was sent in response to queries from Senator James Inhofe, the ranking Republican on the Armed Services Committee.
Roughly 22% of those who have arrived are adult females compared to 34% who are male adults, said the letter. The figures provided by Austin are approximations.
Turning to the roughly 124,000 people who were evacuated from Afghanistan in the final days of the US occupation, Austin said the vast majority -- 85%, or 105,000 -- were Afghans.
The asylees who remain at US military facilities are expected to stay there for months due to a measles outbreak, housing shortage and a bureaucratic delay in processing paperwork, according to the Journal.
Three-quarters of the questions asked by Inhofe required classified answers, Austin reportedly wrote.
“I’m glad we finally have some of the answers my colleagues on the Senate Armed Services Committee and I have been asking, about who we evacuated and how the Department of Defense is supporting these evacuees,” Inhofe told the newspaper. “It’s clear the Department faces challenges ahead in this regard, and I intend to watch this process closely”