U.S. Considers Repatriating Afghan Evacuees Who Fail Vetting Process
Evacuees from Afghanistan who fail U.S. checks on their bona fides might face repatriation back to their homeland, three officials familiar with the matter have claimed.
CNN reports the trio told the outlet a return to Afghanistan is only one option available — and comes with attendant legal questions — but it is being studied as U.S. officials decide just what to do with Afghans if they do not clear the security clearance process.
The Afghan evacuees are currently being held at a military base called Bondsteel in Kosovo and were taken out of the country aboard rescue flights during the chaotic U.S. withdrawal.
The U.S. evacuated at least 65,000 Afghans in the days before the country shut itself off from the world, according to numbers provided by the Pentagon and the Department of Homeland Security.
The White House has since said it is expecting to resettle up to 95,000 Afghans in the U.S. as soon as vetting is complete, although checking credentials is a problem that is not just one being experienced solely by the U.S.
UK Border Force Admits Some Afghan Evacuees Have Forged Papers https://t.co/wi6AWPrOTL
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) August 30, 2021
A senior administration official told CNN the kind of security flags that have led people to be transferred to Bondsteel from other transit locations in Europe and the Middle East are generally not those “that can be resolved within hours or even within days.”
The official noted that certain types of vetting can be more complicated and can involve getting FBI or other interviewers involved for questioning about the information the US has come across.
“That can be a more time-consuming process than … just ruling out someone based on fingerprints or facial photographs,” the official said. “That’s the kind of thing where the sort of longer process that’s happening at Bondsteel can be useful.”
National Security Council spokesperson Emily Horne said she is confident the vetting process is secure:
All Afghans hoping to begin new lives in America must first pass our security screening and vetting process and receive necessary vaccinations before they are permitted to enter the United States.
The fact that some people have been flagged by our counterterrorism, intelligence or law enforcement professionals for additional screening shows our system is working.
The number of evacuees at the base is small — roughly 200 individuals, including family members, according to a source familiar with the situation on the ground, and the Biden administration has an agreement with the government of Kosovo to house them there for up to a year, according to CNN.
AMERICA LAST: Joe Biden’s Afghan evacuation was so chaotic that an immigration law firm in D.C. inserted hundreds of unidentified and unvetted Afghans from a regional Afghan city into the main processing center in Qatar. https://t.co/SeM0RQb9l1
— Breitbart News (@BreitbartNews) September 5, 2021
Even as the decisions are being made, many more thousands of Afghans who have been given the green light are being sent to the U.S. and distributed around the country.
Not all are finding the experience as they hoped, as Breitbart News reported.
So too are the backgrounds secure of those being taken to freedom in the U.S. and beyond.
Secretary of State Tony Blinken has already confirmed reports during a Senate hearing young children were transported from Afghanistan with older men as child brides.US Senate Committee Foreign Relations
In September the Pentagon acknowledged problems with Afghan refugees at U.S. military bases where they are being held until they are screened and released.
Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said the Pentagon is “certainly aware” of reports some women are being harassed by former Afghan soldiers.
He added Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin is “comfortable” that Northern Command commander Air Force Gen. Glen D. VanHerck “also is mindful of these issues and will continue to work closely with our interagency partners to alleviate any concerns there might be.”