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Afghan Refugees Attacked Female Service Member

New Mexico base says woman attacked by 'small group' of men
By Josh Gardner,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 26, 2021 8:30 AM CDT
Female Service Member Assaulted by Refugees
Afghan refugees line up for food in a dining hall at Fort Bliss' Do?a Ana Village   (AP Photo/David Goldman)

(Newser)

Male evacuees at the Doña Ana County Range Complex where Afghan refugees are being housed in New Mexico reportedly assaulted a female US military service member. Per the El Paso Times, Fort Bliss officials said Friday that a small group of "male evacuees” assaulted the woman Sept.. 19. In a statement obtained by KFOX, Fort Bliss officials confirmed the assault, saying they "immediately provided appropriate care, counseling and support to the service member. Task Force-Bliss is also implementing additional security measures to include increased health and safety patrols, additional lighting, and enforcement of the buddy system at the Dona Ana Complex. We will cooperate fully with the FBI and will continue to ensure the service member reporting this assault is fully supported."

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The FBI has confirmed it is investigating an incident, but disclosed no details. Per CBS News, the assault has led Fort Bliss to implement increased security measures at the complex, including more lighting and buddy system enforcement. While typically used as a firing range, the Doña Ana Complex has been converted into a tent city to house Afghan evacuees, per ABC News. News of the assault comes just weeks after Biden opened up the Fort Bliss facility to reporters to show how the Administration is housing refugees following the US troop withdrawal from Afghanistan. At that time, the AP reported some 10,000 Afghans were staying the base to undergo medical and security checks ahead of their resettlement in the US.

The US government spent two weeks building what it calls a village to house the Afghans on the base. It is a sprawling area with scores of air-conditioned tents used as dormitories and dining halls on scrubby dirt lots, a landscape that in some ways resembled parts of the homeland they fled. Under the program called “Operation Allies Welcome,” some 50,000 Afghans are expected to be admitted to the United States, including translators, drivers and others who helped the US military during the 20-year war and who feared reprisals by the Taliban after they quickly seized power last month.
(Read more Afghanistan stories.)

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