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An investigation is underway into an alleged attack of a female U.S. military service member by several male Afghan evacuees being housed at Fort Bliss.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation has confirmed to Fox News it is investigating a referral from a Fort Bliss Afghan refugee housing complex in New Mexico alleging that a woman, whose name and age are unknown at this time, was assaulted on Sept. 19 by a “small group of male evacuees.”
“We received the referral from Fort Bliss and our office is investigating the allegation,” FBI Public Affairs Officer Special Agent Jeanette Harper told Fox News.
Officials at Fort Bliss confirmed the report of the assault to Fox News.
“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,” the 1st Armored Division and Fort Bliss Public Affairs said in an emailed statement. “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 statement added that counseling and support has been provided to the service member.
“Task Force-Bliss is also implementing additional security measures to include increased health and safety patrols, additional lighting, and enforcement of the buddy system at the Dona Ana Complex,” the statement continued. “We will cooperate fully with the FBI and will continue to ensure the service member reporting this assault is fully supported.”
Rep. Yvette Herrell, a Republican congresswoman who represents New Mexico’s 2nd congressional district, called the news a “vetting failure.”
“My prayers are with the courageous soldier and her family. This is yet another tragic failure in the vetting process for Afghan nationals,” Herrell tweeted. “The American people deserve answers.”
The alleged attack comes on the heels of two Afghan refugees housed at Wisconsin’s Fort McCoy being indicted for federal crimes including sexual assault on a minor and domestic assault.
Bahrullah Noori, a 20-year-old Afghan evacuee, is being charged with attempting to engage in a sexual act with a minor using force against that person, along with three other counts of engaging in a sex act with a minor, according to a statement from the Department of Justice. Additionally, 32-year-old Mohammad Haroon Imaad is being charged with assaulting his wife by choking and suffocating her on September 17.
Republicans on Capitol Hill have reacted to the news of violence carried out by Afghan refugees being housed in the United States with demands for answers from the Biden administration.
On Thursday night, Oklahoma Sen. James Lankford and four other Republican senators sent a letter to the Biden administration seeking more details on the way Afghan refugees 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?” the Republican senators 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?”
Earlier this month, an official with the Biden administration categorically denied anyone “of concern” had made it into the country, saying there is a “second layer” of screening once a refugee gets to a U.S. entry point.
“No one has gotten into the United States or entered that is of concern,” the official said. “The administration is working with urgency and with care to enhance the screening and vetting operations to make them more efficient without compromising U.S. national security.”
Houston Keene and Alexandria Hoff contributed to this report
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