The FBI confirmed on Friday that it was investigating a report that a female military officer was assaulted by a group of Afghan refugee men staying at Fort Bliss.
In a statement to Fox News, officials said the service member reported that the assault took place on September 19 at the Fort’s Doña Ana Range complex in New Mexico, where the refugees are staying.
“We take the allegation seriously and have appropriately referred the matter to the Federal Bureau of Investigation,” the statement said. “The safety and well-being of our military, as well as everyone on our facilities, is paramount. “
An FBI spokesperson confirmed to The Post on Friday night that the office had “received the referral from Fort Bliss, and FBI El Paso’s office is investigating the allegation.”
The report comes days after two Afghan refugees were indicted by a federal grand jury in Wisconsin for alleged crimes committed while they were staying at Fort McCoy in Wisconsin.
Bahrullah Noori, 20, was accused of committing a sexual act with a minor three times in the facility and of attempting to engage in a sexual act with another minor. Mohammad Haroon Imaad, 32, was accused of assaulting his wife – who alleged to military authorities that her husband repeatedly beat their children, raped her and threatened “to send her back to Afghanistan where the Taliban could take care of her ”.
In the aftermath of the evacuation from Afghanistan, authorities raised concerns that temporary accommodation for refugees could become a hunting ground for sex criminals. Republican lawmakers have also raised concerns that the Biden administration has allowed Afghans with criminal records or ties to terrorist groups to be deported from the war-torn country while thousands of others who aided US-led NATO forces during the 20-year war against the Taliban have been left to fend for themselves in hostile territory.
One of those lawmakers, Representative Yvette Harrell (R-NM), tweeted Friday: “My prayers are with the brave soldier and his family. This is yet another tragic failure in the selection process for Afghan nationals. The American people deserve answers.
The Fort Bliss statement noted that the service member supported Operation Allies Welcome, the Biden administration’s initiative to resettle Afghan refugees in the United States.
In a conference call with reporters earlier Friday, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas praised the control system put in place for Afghan evacuees.
“If someone fails these checks while still overseas, they will not be allowed to board a flight to the United States,” he said, later adding: ” If, upon landing in the United States, additional security screening at the port of entry raises concerns about a person, Customs and Border Protection have the power to deny them entry. in the USA.
According to Jack Markell, coordinator of the White House’s Operation Allies Welcome, more than 50,000 Afghans are staying at eight military installations in the United States – including Fort Bliss – and 12,000 more are expected to arrive early next month from bases in Europe.