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.
“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.”
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.”
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
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.