‘Vetting Failure’: Male Afghan Refugees Allegedly Assault Female Soldier at Ft. Bliss, Triggering FBI Probe

In this Aug. 22, 2021, file photo provided by the U.S. Air Force, Afghan passengers board a U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster III during the Afghanistan evacuation at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan. (MSgt. Donald R. Allen/U.S. Air Force via AP, File)
MSgt. Donald R. Allen/U.S. Air Force via AP, File

The FBI reportedly launched a probe into an alleged attack of a female soldier at the hands of several male Afghan evacuees housed at Fort Bliss, officials from the agency and the U.S. Army post confirmed Friday.

FBI agents are investigating a referral from the Doña Ana Complex camp at Fort Bliss housing thousands of alleged Afghan allies evacuated in haste during President Joe Biden’s chaotic and deadly withdrawal from Afghanistan.

Afghan citizens pack inside a U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster III, as they are transported from Hamid Karzai International Airport in Afghanistan, Sunday, Aug. 15, 2021. The Taliban on Sunday swept into Kabul, the Afghan capital, after capturing most of Afghanistan. (Capt. Chris Herbert/U.S. Air Force via AP)

Afghan citizens pack inside a U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster III, as they are transported from Hamid Karzai International Airport in Afghanistan, Sunday, Aug. 15, 2021. The Taliban on Sunday swept into Kabul, the Afghan capital, after capturing most of Afghanistan. (Capt. Chris Herbert/U.S. Air Force via AP)

“We received the referral from Fort Bliss, and our office is investigating the allegation,” FBI Public Affairs Officer Special Agent Jeanette Harper said in a statement shared with Fox News and a local ABC News channel.

Fort Bliss officials also confirmed the incident in a separate statement shared with the two news outlets.

“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,” Lt. Col. Allie Payne, a spokeswoman for Fort Bliss said.

“We take the allegation seriously and appropriately referred the matter to the Federal Bureau of Investigation,” Col. Payne added. “The safety and well-being of our service members, as well as all of those on our installations, is paramount.”

Soldiers with 1st Battalion, 6th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division escort Afghan evacuees to their living accommodations at Fort Bliss’ Doña Ana Complex in New Mexico, Aug. 31, 2021. The Department of Defense, through U.S. Northern Command, and in support of the Department of Homeland Security, is providing transportation, temporary housing, medical screening, and general support for at least 50,000 Afghan evacuees at suitable facilities, in permanent or temporary structures, as quickly as possible. This initiative provides Afghan personnel essential support at secure locations outside Afghanistan. (U.S. Army photo by: Staff Sgt. Michael West, 1st Armored Division, 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team)

Soldiers with 1st Battalion, 6th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division escort Afghan evacuees to their living accommodations at Fort Bliss’ Doña Ana Complex in New Mexico, Aug. 31, 2021. (U.S. Army photo by: Staff Sgt. Michael West, 1st Armored Division, 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team)

Although the FBI and Fort Bliss did not elaborate on the details of the attack, ABC 7 revealed:

Sources with knowledge of the case told ABC-7 that the soldier was attacked around midnight last Sunday by at least three Afghan men near her car after she arrived at the complex for duty.

The assault wasn’t sexual in the nature, the sources said, adding that the woman soldier’s injuries didn’t require hospitalization and she was physically doing fine as of now.

Rep. Yvette Herrell (R-NM) blamed the Ft. Bliss attack on what she described as the flawed screening process for Afghan nationals rushed into the U.S.

“My prayers are with the courageous soldier and her family. This is yet another tragic failure in the vetting process for Afghan nationals,” Herrell wrote on Twitter. “The American people deserve answers.”

The attack came on the heels of Department of Justice (DOJ) indictments announced Wednesday of two Afghan evacuees ages 20 and 32 housed at Wisconsin’s Fort McCoy for federal crimes, including sexual assault on a minor under 16 with the use of force and domestic assault.

Republicans have demanded answers from the Biden administration on the vetting process of the Afghan evacuees.

Over 80 percent of the estimated 60,000 Afghan nationals evacuated after the Taliban declared victory on August 15 are waiting for the U.S. to process their claim for legal status, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas admitted this week.

El Paso Times learned from a State Department official:

The Afghans at the Fort Bliss camp aren’t detained but their access to refugee benefits — including housing and other assistance — is conditioned on them remaining in the refugee program and awaiting placement by a resettlement agency.

Biden administration officials insist no dangerous Afghans have made it into the United States, citing what they consider to be a “rigorous” vetting process.

However, Biden’s State Department reportedly refuses to say what happens to Afghan evacuees who fail the screening process.

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