FBI Confirms Probe Into Alleged Attack on Female US Service Member by Afghan Evacuees at Fort Bliss
08:24 GMT 25.09.2021 (Updated: 13:24 GMT 06.08.2022)
On Wednesday, two Afghan evacuees were charged with crimes committed during their stay at the Fort McCoy military base in Wisconsin. The charges came after tens of thousands of people left Afghanistan after the Taliban* took control over the country in August.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has confirmed they are looking into a recent alleged attack on a female American military service member by several male Afghan evacuees
housed at the Fort Bliss army base.
FBI Public Affairs Officer Special Agent Jeanette Harper told Fox News on Friday that they had received "the referral from Fort Bliss" and that "our office is investigating the allegation".
This comes after Fort Bliss officials said in a statement that they "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 Fort Bliss] Dona Ana Complex in New Mexico".
"We take the allegation seriously and appropriately referred the matter to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The safety and well-being of our service members, as well as all of those on our installations, is paramount", the officials stressed, adding that Task Force-Bliss is implementing "additional security measures to include increased health and safety patrols, additional lighting, and enforcement of the buddy system at the Dona Ana Complex".
They pledged they would collaborate "fully with the FBI and will continue to ensure the service member reporting this assault is fully supported".
Fort McCoy Incident
The statement followed the US Department of Justice saying earlier this week that "in unrelated cases", two Afghan evacuees had been charged with federal crimes while at Fort McCoy, Wisconsin.
Both men are Afghan nationals who were housed at the Fort McCoy base along with several thousand compatriots after their evacuation from Afghanistan following the Taliban's takeover of the capital Kabul and the withdrawal of US and NATO troops
from the country.
24 September 2021, 22:45 GMT
One suspect, identified as Bahrullah Noori, was accused of sexual assault against four minors aged under 16. The 20-year-old allegedly used force to engage in a sexual act with one victim and attempted the same crime against another.
In a separate case, 32-year-old Mohammad Haroon Imaad was accused of attacking his wife, strangling and suffocating her. Both men are in custody in the Dane County jail in Madison. If convicted, Noori faces life imprisonment, while Imaad could potentially spend up to 10 years behind bars.
A group of Republican senators has, meanwhile, sent a letter to the Biden administration, demanding answers on how Afghan evacuees are being vetted.
"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 read.
This was preceded by a Biden administration official flatly denying that anyone "of concern" entered the US, arguing that Washington is "working with urgency and with care to enhance the screening and vetting operations to make them more efficient without compromising US national security".
*The Taliban is a terrorist group banned in Russia and many other countries.