U.S. officials are looking into reports that in the frantic evacuation of desperate Afghans from Kabul, older men were admitted together with young girls they claimed as “brides” or otherwise sexually abused.
U.S. officials at intake centers in the United Arab Emirates and in Wisconsin have identified numerous incidents in which Afghan girls have been presented to authorities as the “wives” of much older men. While child marriage is not uncommon in Afghanistan, the U.S. has strict policies against human trafficking that include prosecutions for offenders and sanctions for countries that don’t crack down on it.
One internal document seen by The Associated Press says the State Department has sought “urgent guidance” from other agencies after purported child brides were brought to Fort McCoy in Wisconsin. Another document, described to the AP by officials familiar with it, says Afghan girls at a transit site in Abu Dhabi have alleged they have been raped by older men they were forced to marry in order to escape Afghanistan.
The State Department had no immediate comment on the documents or the veracity of the details in them. Officials say that they take all such allegations seriously but that many of them 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.
An Aug. 27 situation report sent to all U.S. embassies and consulates abroad as well as military command centers in Florida points to potential issues involving young girls and older men, some of whom claim to have more than one wife at Fort McCoy, a sprawling 60,000-acre (243-square-kilometer) Army base in Wisconsin. Relevant portions of the document, titled “Afghanistan Task Force SitRep No. 63,” were obtained by the AP.
“Intake staff at Fort McCoy reported multiple cases of minor females who presented as ‘married’ to adult Afghan men, as well as polygamous families,” the document says. “Department of State has requested urgent guidance.”
There was no immediate indication from the military or from the departments of homeland security and health and human services, which run the facility, that such guidance had been received.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) slammed Democrat President Joe Biden on Friday the Associated Press report.
Cruz responded to the “credible and horrifying” report by blasting the Biden administration, saying that they had “no plan for a secure, orderly, and responsible withdrawal from Afghanistan.”
“Instead, the President and Biden-Harris officials imposed arbitrary deadlines for political purposes. They rushed the evacuation to expedite moving tens of thousands of Afghans into the United States without thoroughly vetting them for security, health, and humanitarian concerns,” Cruz said in a statement.
“I had called for refugees to remain in safe third countries while they were vetted, but instead, President Biden rushed to bring them to the United States. It was already clear his reckless decision threatened the security and health of Americans, from concerns over terrorism to evacuees testing positive for COVID-19. Today we learned that President Biden has also imported an acute human rights crisis into the United States.”
“There have been multiple cases of child brides and polygamous families from Afghanistan arriving at military bases here in America as part of their botched evacuation,” the statement concluded.
“Reports even suggest that some of the exploitation was a direct result of the Biden administration’s chaotic evacuation process, a process that has enabled and incentivized coercion and abuse to the point where Biden Administration officials may well be complicit in child trafficking. Every Biden-Harris official linked to this disgrace should and must be held accountable.”
This is an excerpt from Fox News.
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