Dozens of Afghans evacuated in the final days of U.S. military presence in Afghanistan have been flagged over potential ties to the Taliban or other terror groups.
Two flagged Afghans were shipped to Kosovo to undergo stricter scrutiny, according to NBC News. The warnings come as U.S. officials are vetting tens of thousands of Afghans extracted from Afghanistan under the belief that the evacuees were at high risk of retribution at the hands of the Taliban.
“A lot of people were moved very quickly and the intelligence community has been working hard to evaluate whether any of them pose a threat,” a senior federal law enforcement official told NBC News. “Some of the vetting occurs while they are overseas, and some of it occurs here … We are not going to allow people to intentionally be released into the community if they have unresolved derogatory information.”
According to NBC News:
Of more than 30,000 evacuees from Afghanistan to the U.S., about 10,000 needed additional screening as of Friday, said the sources, and of those about 100 were flagged for possible ties to the Taliban or terror groups. Two of those 100 raised enough concern for additional review.
Other evacuees who are currently being evaluated in the D.C. area were found to have been deported from the U.S. previously for past criminal offenses, said two sources briefed on the data. The Department of Homeland Security is now deciding what to do with the individuals.
Potential terror ties is just one of a variety of serious issues officials are now struggling to address with relocating tens of thousands of Afghans airlifted from Afghanistan. State Department officials are investigating “numerous” cases in which children were introduced as the “brides” of older Afghan men at processing centers in Wisconsin and the United Arab Emirates.
U.S. officials at processing centers in Wisconsin and the United Arab Emirates have reported “numerous incidents” of older men introducing sexually abused young girls as their “brides.” Officials at the centers are reportedly seeking “urgent guidance” from the State Department on how to handle the reports, according to The Associated Press.
“Intake staff at Fort McCoy reported multiple cases of minor females who presented as ‘married’ to adult Afghan men, as well as polygamous families,” one document sent by officials at a military base in Wisconsin and reviewed by the AP said. “Department of State has requested urgent guidance.”
Officials at the intake center in the United Arab Emirates reported instances of children claiming that they were forced to marry older men in return for evacuation from Afghanistan, officials familiar with the cable told the AP.
Such claims of child trafficking and sexual abuse are taken seriously, officials told the AP, but “are anecdotal and difficult to prove, particularly amid the crush of Afghan evacuees at multiple locations in the Middle East, Europe and the United States,” according to the outlet.
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