Press Release – NDAA
For Immediate Release
For Immediate Release: Washington, D.C. December 4th, 2020
The final version of the 2021 NDAA, which passed out of conference yesterday afternoon, contains a provision on K2.
Section 751, "Study on Exposure to Toxic Substances at Karshi-Khanabad Air Base, Uzbekistan", requires the Secretary of Defense to conduct an epidemiological study on the effects of toxic exposures on all veterans of K2. This important first step will require the DoD to publicly review and acknowledge the toxic legacy of K2 and continue the process towards full recognition and care for K2 veterans.
The Stronghold Freedom Foundation is grateful for the perseverance and action of our veterans, families, surviving spouses, friends, legislators, and the media. This law will provide some respite for Karshi-Khanabad Airbase (K2) veterans for the first time. Until now, due to the lack of government recognition, K2 veterans were denied the care and benefits earned through their service.
K2 veterans and their families have known for many years the hazards they endured. Recently, the DoD declassified hundreds of documents confirming K2 was toxic and hazardous. Even still, the DoD and VA refuse to recognize K2 veterans and resist calls to fully recognize Uzbekistan as a deployed location in the Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) theater of operations.
The Stronghold Freedom Foundation will continue to work with legislators, the DoD, and VA to obtain complete recognition, preventative care, screening, and registry for all K2 veterans.
About Stronghold Freedom Foundation
The Stronghold Freedom Foundation is a 501(c)3 tax-exempt organization.
Our mission is to utilize awareness and partnerships to serve those who were exposed to toxic conditions while deployed in the service of our country. We represent almost 16,000 Veterans, family members (including Gold Star Families), civilian contractors, and federal employees that were deployed to or worked at Karshi Khanabad Air Base, Uzbekistan (K2) during Operation Enduring Freedom (2001-2005).
Our Veterans were exposed to multiple forms of toxic chemicals and radiation hazards during their time at K2. We strive to keep the promise made by the government to care for them and their families.
Will this help with those of us veterans medically retired after exposure in Iraq during the same time frame?
Rebecca, this study is currently just for veterans who were at Karsh-Khanabad. But I suggest you look into Senator Gillibrand and Representative Ruiz’s bill on toxic exposure (there is information here on our K2 Facts page). That bill will cover many more veterans and will cover more toxic exposures.