Among the many concerns that emerged from the Biden administration’s chaotic troop withdrawal from Afghanistan was the level of vetting applied to thousands of Afghan nationals fleeing the war-torn nation.
Those fears appear to be justified as evidenced in multiple reports of Afghan evacuees physically and sexually assaulting others — including a female U.S. service member at a military base in New Mexico.
“We take the allegation seriously”
According to Fox News, the FBI revealed on Friday that it was investigating the alleged attack by a “small group of male evacuees” being temporarily housed at Fort Bliss.
Bureau spokesperson Special Agent Jeanette Harper issued a statement confirming the complaint and subsequent probe into the allegation.
The complaint was further confirmed in a joint statement from the Fort Bliss public affairs office and 1st Armored Division.
“We can confirm a female service member supporting Operation Allies Welcome reported being assaulted on Sept. 19 by a small group of male evacuees at the Doña Ana Complex in New Mexico,” the statement explained. “We take the allegation seriously and appropriately referred the matter to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The safety and well-being of our service members, as well as all of those on our installations, is paramount.”
In addition to counseling and support for the alleged victim, the base stated that it “is also implementing additional security measures to include increased health and safety patrols, additional lighting, and enforcement of the buddy system at the Dona Ana Complex.”
“My prayers are with the courageous soldier”
Fort Bliss concluded with a promise to “cooperate fully with the FBI” while working to “ensure the service member reporting this assault is fully supported.”
A number of lawmakers are not satisfied, including U.S. Rep. Yvette Herrell (R-NM), who tweeted: “My prayers are with the courageous soldier and her family. This is yet another tragic failure in the vetting process for Afghan nationals. The American people deserve answers.”
It is unclear whether more thorough vetting could have prevented this alleged attack, but Herrell’s remark is nevertheless sure to resonate among many Americans who believe not enough is being done to weed out potential threats from among those fleeing Afghanistan.
Days before the recent allegations became public, two male Afghan evacuees were indicted on shocking charges.
The two men had been residing at Fort McCoy in Wisconsin. The first, a 20-year-old man, faces charges related to using force to engage in sex acts with a minor, while the second, a 32-year-old man, is charged with “assaulting his spouse by strangling and suffocating her.”