A group of male Afghan refugees being temporarily housed at the Dona Ana army complex in New Mexico allegedly assaulted a female U.S. service member, Fort Bliss officials confirmed.
The complex that straddles the Texas-New Mexico border near El Paso houses thousands of evacuees airlifted from the country during the United States’s evacuation. According to the statement from Fort Bliss officials, a female member supporting Fort Bliss’s Operation Allies Welcome project reported being assaulted on Sept. 19 by a "small group" of male evacuees.
“We take the allegation seriously and appropriately referred the matter to the Federal Bureau of Investigation,” the statement said. “The safety and well-being of our service members, as well as all of those on our installations, is paramount. We immediately provided appropriate care, counseling and support to the service member.”
The statement also said the base would take steps to improve safety, including installing more lights and enforcing the buddy system.
“We will cooperate fully with the FBI and will continue to ensure the service member reporting this assault is fully supported,” the statement concluded.
The FBI confirmed it received the referral from Fort Bliss, and the El Paso FBI office is investigating the case.
Republican Rep. Yvette Herrell of New Mexico called the incident “another tragic failure in the vetting process for Afghan nationals brought to America, some of whom have proven to be rapists, criminals, and traffickers. 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
On Wednesday, two Afghan refugees at Fort McCoy in Wisconsin were charged with federal crimes. One allegedly tried to coerce sex from a minor, and the other was charged with assaulting his wife by trying to strangle her.
"How many Afghan nationals are waiting on background checks at a transit site? How many Afghan nationals have been paroled into the United States?" they asked. "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?"
A Biden administration official denied earlier this month that “anyone of concern” had been evacuated to the U.S.
Jerry Dunleavy contributed to this report.
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Original Author: Virginia Aabram
Original Location: Female service member reports assault by Afghan refugees at Fort Bliss