Media reports show that terror supporters are among Afghan evacuees, even as the U.S. has entrusted the Taliban with a list of American citizens and Afghan visa holders.
Reports are already making clear that western officials do not have the ability to vet the tens of thousands of Afghan refugees evacuated through a screen of Taliban checkpoints. While Americans have been told that the evacuation flights are intended primarily for American citizens and a small number of highly vetted military interpreters and intelligence assets the reality appears to differ. Reports of American passport holders and genuine military interpreters being rejected for travel through Taliban checkpoints (while ISIS bombers apparently are able to make their way through undetected) raises additional concerns.
The U.S. government has now allegedly gifted the Taliban with a list of approved persons (American citizens and Afghan visa holders) to let through checkpoints. While some have warned the information may serve as a Taliban “kill list,” another concerning prospect is that the Taliban could use the information to fraudulently slip operatives onto U.S. flights.
The reality is that the total pool of Afghan evacuees includes not only approved Special Immigration Visa holders, but SIV applicants, as well as those entering as part of the P-2 Afghan Refugee program which is far larger, and less well screened than most of us have been led to believe. According to a Pentagon spokesman as reported by Fox News journalist Lucas Tomlinson, only 7,000 of the reported 100,000 evacuees are SIV holders. Only 5,000 are Americans.
Already one Afghan evacuee with ties to ISIS, the same terror group which killed 13 American troops in a coordinated suicide bombing yesterday, has been identified in secondary screening. Another 100 evacuees have reportedly also been identified based on biometric screening. A Pentagon official put the number of flagged Afghan evacuees at .5%, which would represent between 250-350 individuals with suspected terror links.
In France, French intelligence has placed at least 5 Afghan evacuees under surveillance following evidence of Taliban ties. In the United Kingdom an Afghan evacuee who arrived in Birmingham, England from Kabul was found to have already been placed on the No-Fly terrorism watch list.
Contrary to those who claim that refugee vetting is foolproof, history shows otherwise.
A similar refugee program for Iraq had to be suspended in 2009 due to evidence of rampant fraud with as many as 100,000 applications being fraudulent. The suspension began after two Al Qaeda bombmakers in Bowling Green Kentucky were arrested by the FBI for trying to ship weapons back to insurgents abroad.
In 2017, then Attorney General Jeff Sessions admitted that there were over 300 current cases of refugees being investigated for terrorism ties.
In February of 2020, an Iraqi refugee working as a driving instructor was arrested in Phoenix, Arizona to face deportation after the Iraq government provided evidence to show that he had served as the ringleader of an Al Qaeda assassination unit.
The situation was even worse for U.S. allies in Western Europe. Todd Bensman, a senior fellow with the Center for Immigration Studies, noted in a 2019 report that of 104 terrorists who entered Europe as migrants, most exploited asylum processes. In terror attacks committed by migrants, 170 people were killed, and 878 injured over a period of four years from 2014-2018.
One of the more recent third rails of American politics has been to publicly admit that refugees from areas where jihadist terrorism is rampant may themselves have terror ties. Despite claims to the contrary, the vetting of refugees traveling to the United States has never been foolproof even under the best conditions.
The current debacle in Afghanistan is far from the best conditions.
Most Americans believe that those Afghans who were most thoroughly vetted and worked most closely with our military should be taken out of harm’s way and this is a reasonable and moral position. But that sympathy is being abused by a U.S. refugee system which has its own unrecognizable set of priorities, and refuses to admit any possibility of danger.
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