Despite President Joe Biden’s claims that the Kabul evacuation was done in an “orderly manner,” a New York Times investigation found the next step—vetting, transporting, and housing Afghan refugees—was anything but. Internal documents and interviews paint a picture of the Doha, Qatar airbase, which held almost 15,000 refugees in airplane hangers the day the U.S. left Afghanistan. Those refugees, who faced issues such as COVID-19 and dehydration, included older boys who bullied younger children, pregnant women in need of medical attention, and, two days after Biden’s speech, a 19-month-old who died due to “pre-existing conditions.”
The conditions exemplified the frantic effort to evacuate Afghan nationals from the Taliban-controlled country. Other incidents included multiple flights without complete manifests, leading officials to know more about the number of dogs on the plane than the number of people, and flights into the U.S. that included several unaccompanied Afghan children and people with COVID. Officials declined to comment on the record to the Times, but some said the U.S. was working to improve the conditions for refugees in Doha and at home.