FBI Investigating Alleged Assault Of U.S. Service Member At Afghan Refugee Camp
The FBI is investigating an alleged assault of a female U.S. service member by male Afghan refugees being housed temporarily at a shooting range at Fort Bliss in New Mexico, according to multiple news sites.
Fort Bliss said the female service member, who is a part of “Operation Allies Welcome,” reported being assaulted by a “small group of male evacuees” on September 19 at the Doña Ana County Range Complex, according to the El Paso Times.
Fort Bliss officials said the victim received “counseling and support” after the incident, and additional security measures, including “additional lighting” and “enforcement of the buddy system” were being implemented at the complex.
Fort Bliss officials say the incident was reported to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which confirmed to Fox News that an investigation was under way.
New Mexico U.S. House Representative Yvette Herrell said on Twitter that the incident represents a “tragic failure in the vetting process for Afghan nationals,” and said “the American people deserve answers.”
Forbes has reached out to the FBI and Fort Bliss officials for comment.
“We take the allegation seriously,” Fort Bliss officials told the El Paso Times. “The safety and well-being of our service members, as well as all of those on our installations, is paramount.”
The incident comes days after two male Afghan refugees housed at Wisconsin’s Fort McCoy were charged with federal crimes including sexual assault on a minor and domestic assault. One 20-year-old Afghan refugee, Bahrullah Noori, was accused of attempting to engage in a sexual act with a minor and using force. Another refugee, 32-year-old Mohammad Haroon Imaad, was charged with assaulting his spouse by “strangling and suffocating her.”
More than 65,000 Afghan refugees were evacuated from Afghanistan by the U.S. following the Taliban’s takeover of the country in August. Refugees are sheltering at camps in the U.S., Middle East, Europe, Africa and Latin America while their visas are being processed to get into the country. The White House said it is expecting to resettle up to 95,000 Afghans in the U.S.
How To Address The Legal Status Of Afghan Refugees (Forbes)
The War In Afghanistan Cost America $300 Million Per Day For 20 Years, With Big Bills Yet To Come (Forbes)