Stephen Dinan, Washington Times, April 18, 2022
The 77,000 Afghans evacuated to the U.S. have all been processed and released from military bases, but not before racking up a striking number of criminal entanglements including violence against women and sexual assaults on children.
Federal prosecutors in Virginia charged a man with molesting a 14-year-old girl. As investigators dug into his phone, they said, they found child pornography among thousands of photos he kept. They have now charged him with that offense, too.
Another evacuee stands accused of bashing his wife with a cellphone charger and slashing her wrists with a razor blade. Investigators say he was mad at his wife for taking one of the seats at an evacuee meeting, while his brother had to stand.
Still another evacuee is awaiting sentencing after a jury found him guilty of groping a child. He defended his actions to investigators, saying it was part of his culture to hug and kiss children.
In New Jersey, Khan Wali Rahmani was charged with assault with a dangerous weapon. According to court documents, he became upset when he thought another evacuee was “staring” at him during religious rites. He told investigators he grabbed a metal pipe and smashed the man in the back of the head.
Mr. Rahmani claimed self-defense, though the federal investigator who wrote the criminal complaint dryly noted that he attacked “while Victim #1 kneeled in prayer.”
The bad behavior extends beyond the camps, too.
In Missoula, Montana, prosecutors have charged an evacuee with raping an 18-year-old girl in his hotel room.
In Wisconsin, an evacuee who arrived with his wife and six children and held himself out as a liaison to the community where they settled now stands charged with sexual assault. A woman who had been working with the family said the evacuee told her he had never talked to a woman like her before, said they should act like brother and sister and then tried to get her to fondle him.
Rep. Thomas P. Tiffany, a Wisconsin Republican who has been keeping an eye on evacuees who were sent to Fort McCoy in his state, said, “The cultural differences are stark.”
“It’s part of the reason you have to go slow with any type of immigration situation. We should expect assimilation into our country, and when you just wave in almost 80,000 people of a very different culture than America, you’re inviting real upheaval in local communities,” the congressman told The Washington Times.
New Mexico State Police told The Times that they responded to 85 service calls from the Afghan camp at Holloman Air Force Base. Among them were more than a dozen battery accusations, six domestic violence calls, two prostitution alerts, three disorderly callouts, two child abuse accusations, one indecent exposure and 13 suspicious circumstances reports.
At Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst in New Jersey, investigators said military and federal law enforcement officers found Afghan leaders in the evacuee camp were hushing up crime reports, particularly domestic violence incidents.
At Fort Pickett in Virginia, base security said they received reports of abuse of women and children, as well as some thefts, but the military police felt they had “limited law enforcement authority” over the evacuees. State and local police, meanwhile, were stretched too thin to be of much assistance.
Even when law enforcement recommended felony charges — in one incident of a stolen vehicle and another case of physical abuse — local magistrates lowered the charges to misdemeanors and the evacuees were “quickly” sent back to the camp, the inspector general said.
The crime reports also never got attached to the culprits’ files. Security personnel told the inspector general that meant families that might choose to sponsor Afghans — helping them find jobs, locate housing or connect to services — would never know of their troubles while at Fort Pickett.
At Fort McCoy in Wisconsin, the inspector general said security personnel found they had “limited options” when dealing with misdemeanors such as thefts or simple assaults. They tried to get the U.S. attorney’s office to prosecute, but in most cases, the federal prosecutor declines.
Base officials’ normal recourse for anyone else in that situation would be to restrict access to the installation, but officials decided that would contradict the welcoming posture the U.S. was trying to maintain to the evacuees.
Instead, they issued warning letters. Over the first two months, the base had to issue 12 warning letters.
One high-profile case out of Fort Bliss involved a female soldier who said she was assaulted by a “small group” of male evacuees. No charges have been filed in that case.
As the first charges emerged in September, Air Force Gen. Glen VanHerck, head of U.S. Northern Command, said the numbers were still comparatively low.
“I’ve done some research,” the general said. “What we’re seeing is law enforcement violations that are on par, and in most cases significantly lower than, similarly sized populations across the U.S.”