U.S. Senate Passes Bill to Help Americans Returning From Afghanistan

WASHINGTON, Aug 31 (Reuters) – The U.S. Senate passed legislation on Tuesday to provide aid to Americans returning from Afghanistan, sending the bill to the White House for President Joe Biden to sign into law.

The “Emergency Repatriation Assistance for Returning Americans Act” provides $10 million in emergency funds, although it was not immediately clear how the money would be used. The measure had already passed the U.S. House of Representatives.

Unusually, Vice President Kamala Harris presided over the Senate session – a “pro forma” event held while lawmakers are out of Washington during their late-summer recess – as Democratic Senator Ben Cardin announced the bill. The measure passed by unanimous consent, with no objections in the nearly empty Senate chamber.

U.S. officials announced on Monday that the last American troops had left Kabul, ending the 20-year war in Afghanistan. On Tuesday, the Taliban took control of the airport in the Afghan capital, marking the end of a conflict that left the Islamist group stronger than it was in 2001.

More than 123,000 people, including thousands of U.S. citizens who were in Afghanistan as the Taliban took control, were evacuated from Kabul in a massive but chaotic airlift by the United States and its allies over the past two weeks. (Reporting by Patricia Zengerle Editing by Paul Simao)

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