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Sparta, WI (KROC-AM News) - Afghan refugees have started arriving at Fort McCoy in western Wisconsin.

A news release issued by the Fort McCoy Public Affairs Office says the first group of special visa applicants, their families, and other "individuals of risk" arrived at the Army base near Sparta Sunday afternoon. The statement says the arrivals from Afghanistan are expected to continue today and in coming days as refugees fleeing the Taliban continue to be evacuated.

An estimated 1000 US Army and Army Reserve members are being assigned to Fort McCoy to help provide housing, food, medical, and other support.

The Public Affairs Office statement closed by saying, "we look forward to the opportunity to treat our temporary guests with the utmost respect and Wisconsin hospitality as they commence their Special Immigrant Visa process."

Minnesota Governor Tim Walz earlier sent a letter to the Biden administration indicating Minnesota is willing and ready to take in Afghan refugees as they transition into community living.“Minnesota has a strong tradition of welcoming those who seek refuge and supporting them to rebuild their lives and become part of our communities,” their letter said. “Minnesota is eager to uphold that tradition by welcoming families and children and providing the stable foundation they need to rebuild their lives, achieve their highest potential, and contribute to our state.”

It's unclear how many of the refugees will be processed at Fort McCoy. Fort Lee in Virginia and Fort Bliss in Texas are also involved in the resettlement mission.

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