By Jack Davis September 25, 2021 at 10:23am
The FBI has been called in to investigate an alleged assault of a female soldier by a group of Afghan refugees being held at Fort Bliss, Texas.
“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,” said Lt. Col. Allie Payne, director of public affairs for Fort Bliss and the 1st Armored Division.
The service member was given medical care and counseling, Payne said, according to KVIA-TV.
“We take the allegation seriously and appropriately referred the matter to the Federal Bureau of Investigation,” Payne added.
Jeanette Harper of the FBI’s El Paso division said “we received the referral from Fort Bliss and our office is investigating the allegation.”
“Task Force-Bliss 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,” a statement from the fort said, according to Fox News.
“We will cooperate fully with the FBI and will continue to ensure the service member reporting this assault is fully supported.”
Republican Rep. Yvette Herrell of New Mexico called the incident a “tragic failure.”
“My prayers are with the courageous soldier and her family. This is yet another tragic failure in the vetting process for Afghan nationals,” Herrell tweeted on Friday. “The American people deserve answers.”
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.https://t.co/UB8ehTjCwO
— Rep. Yvette Herrell (@RepHerrell) September 24, 2021
Sen. James Lankford and four other Republican senators have demanded details from the Biden administration on how Afghan refugees are being vetted, according to Fox News.
“The Biden Administration has yet to provide my staff, members of Congress, or the public with basic answers about its vetting procedures for Afghan parolees or demographic information about the Afghan parolee population,” a letter from the senators said.
“How many Afghan nationals are waiting on background checks at a transit site? How many Afghan nationals have been paroled into the United States?”
“What specific categories, classes, or criteria constitute the Administration’s definition of ‘vulnerable Afghans’? How many individuals who have been paroled into the United States fall under each category, class, or criteria?” the letter said.
Lankford has said he has grave concerns.
“We already have reports of some of the locations where some Afghan parolees are being held that there’s been some sexual assaults that have happened in those locations, and we’re trying to get more information about that and to find out what happened to those individuals and where things go,” he said.
The Justice Department recently announced two unrelated indictments of Afghan refugees housed at Fort McCoy in Wisconsin.
Bahrullah Noori, 20, faces charges of attempting to engage in a sexual act with a minor using force against the victim, including three counts of engaging in a sexual act with a minor and one alleging the use of force.
Mohammad Haroon Imaad, 32, faces charges of assaulting his spouse by strangling and suffocating her.