Report: Up to 100 Afghans seeking U.S. resettlement flagged by terror watchlists

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According to a recent report from Breitbart News, up to 100 Afghans that are seeking to be resettled in the United States have reportedly been flagged by the Defense Department’s terrorism watchlist.

This matter also coincides with the current administration’s rush to see potentially over 20,000 Afghans brought stateside.

Defense Department officials are reportedly raising concerns after “up to 100 of the 7,000 Afghans evacuated as prospective recipients” of special immigrant visas have shown up as being “potential matches to intelligence agency watch lists.”

However, a recent report from Defense One noted that while there have been a number of Afghans who have triggered alerts to potential matches for those on active watchlists, many have been cleared in follow up screenings:

“In most cases, those Afghans—many of whom have already been vetted through the special immigrant visa process—were cleared by follow-on screening.”

These particular Afghans that have been triggering potential alerts for being on watchlists are being screened in Al Udeid Air Base in Doha, Qatar, but the official speaking with Defense One couldn’t speak on whether such triggers are occurring at other bases doing similar screenings.

A senior administration official stated earlier in August that the process being employed for these screenings is both robust and efficient in screening individuals before being considered for placement within the United States:

“That process involves biometric and biographic security screenings conducted by our intelligence, law enforcement and counterterrorism professionals who are working quite literally around the clock to vet all these Afghans before they’re allowed into the United States.”

Yet, an unnamed official said that “on the ground” Customs and Border Protection agents that are assisting with the vetting process in third-party countries are experiencing difficulties with some of the technology on-deck:

“CBP on the ground has old tech and they don’t know how to use it, integrate it.”

Apparently, the process to screen an individual can take upwards of an hour per person, which the official said that also creates its own set of issues with there being “not enough people to process” all of the evacuees:

“The bottom line is the system is working, but slow in the process.”

Earlier in August, NBC News also reported about vetting issues elsewhere in the evacuation process, with some Afghans presenting passports belonging to other U.S. citizens:

“Vetting at Hamid Karzai International Airport is complicated by the fact that biometric screening isn’t available, according to an internal State Department memo obtained by NBC News.

The U.S. mission team reported at least five cases of Afghans who presented U.S. passports that didn’t belong to them, according to the Sunday dispatch from the Afghanistan Task Force, highlighting fraud concerns and complicating the process of screening people to enter the airport.”

CNN reported on August 24th that U.S. troops have started getting evacuated from Afghanistan, on the same day that President Joe Biden confirmed that the August 31st deadline to completely exit the country won’t be extended.

Pentagon press secretary John Kirby confirmed the process of removing troops on August 24th, saying the following:

“These troops represent a mix of headquarters staff, maintenance and other enabling functions that were scheduled to leave and whose mission at the airport was complete. Their departure represents prudent and efficient force management. It will have no impact on the mission at hand.”

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Video: Violence outside airport in Kabul, people covered in blood as Afghans desperately seek refuge

(Originally published August 23rd, 2021)

KABUL, AFGHANISTAN – Video has emerged from the area outside of the airport in Kabul, where gunfire can be heard, and a man is laid out on the ground – covered in blood and being tended to by a distraught woman.

The video reaffirms that the on the ground situation outside of the Kabul airport seems to be only escalating with the presence of the Taliban.

There’s little surprise in knowing that with the presence of the Taliban in Afghanistan, violence is playing out.

With the Taliban having effectively taken control of Afghanistan, many Afghans are crowding outside of the airport in Kabul, desperate for the chance to escape the country.

With video that came from the ground outside the airport on August 21st, one can catch a mere glimpse into the very circumstances these people are trying to flee from. If one were completely oblivious to the current ongoings in Kabul, one could easily mistake the footage as coming from a skirmish in a warzone.

Footage shows a man, laid out on the ground and drenched in blood, while a woman is crouched beside him, in tears and cradling his head. Gunshots can be heard going off nearby, and it’s frankly difficult to tell if the man on the ground is even alive.

Screams are emanating from all around, and the camera pans over to see a man with blood on his face.

This video was shot at the same time that the U.S. Embassy issued warnings for people to not make their way over to the Kabul airport, having cited “potential security threats outside the gates at the Kabul airport.”

Additional video that was captured on August 20th shows another large crowd outside the airport in Kabul, where again screams can be heard and children visibly distressed, as the sounds of gunfire are heard.

The situation in Kabul is extremely fluid, with circumstances constantly changing. An August 18th report from CNBC noted that Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman confirmed that the Taliban were not being as cooperative in allowing Afghans the ability to flee the country:

“We have seen reports that the Taliban, contrary to their public statements and their commitments to our government, are blocking Afghans who wish to leave the country from reaching the airport.”

A report from CNN on August 22nd stated that situation at the Kabul airport is resulting in some families being separated and even sent to different countries when being evacuated from the country:

“Conditions worsened throughout Sunday, with the airport’s entry gates for the most part closed and instances of families being split up and sent to different countries in the chaos.”

A source for the network claimed that the family separations are not intentional, but “they’ve had cases where mum, dad, and children all end up in different countries.”

Thousands are reportedly continuing to gather outside the airport currently, in an effort to flee the tyranny and subjugation of a government established by force & violence that they never voted or asked for.

The Associated Press reported on August 22 that at least seven Afghans were killed in crushes stemming from the thousands trying to gain access to the airport over the past week.

President Joe Biden told reporters that as many as 11,000 people have been airlifted out of Kabul during a 36-hour period over the weekend, but didn’t provide any details outside of that figure. 

The president has also reaffirmed that American citizens and Afghans who aided Americans during our time in the country will be prioritized for evacuation.

However, American citizens that are currently in Afghanistan are still being advised to abstain from coming to the Kabul airport until they receive explicit instructions to do so.

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After stranding tens of thousands in Afghanistan, Biden suddenly ‘compelling’ commercial airlines help

(Originally published August 22nd, 2021)

WASHINGTON, DC – According to reports, the Biden administration has activated a means to compel commercial U.S. airlines to assist with transporting Afghan refugees who are currently scattered throughout military bases in Qatar, Bahrain, and Germany after having been flown out of the now-Taliban controlled country.

The Wall Street Journal reported that the Biden administration was considering the use of a not-so-often used program that compels U.S. airlines to assist with extrications in times of emergencies:

“The White House is expected to consider activating the Civil Reserve Air Fleet, or CRAF, created in 1952 in the wake of the post-World War II Berlin Airlift, to provide nearly 20 commercial jets from up to five airlines to augment U.S. military efforts to transport Afghan evacuees from bases in the region.”

As of August 22nd, the Defense Department activated the Civil Reserve Air Fleet, marking the third instance that CRAF has ever been activated.

The CRAF activation is calling for a total of 18 aircrafts: three each from American Airlines, Atlas Air, Delta Air Lines, Omni Air, two from Hawaiian Airlines, and four from United Airlines.

United Airlines has already had their first flight take off from Frankfurt-Hahn Airport to Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar.

Pentagon press secretary John Kirby released the following statement regarding the endeavor:

“CRAF activation provides the Department of Defense access to commercial air mobility resources to augment our support to the Department of State in the evacuation of U.S. citizens and personnel, Special Immigrant Visa applicants, and other at-risk individuals from Afghanistan.”

Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke with Bahraini Minister of Foreign Affairs Abdullatif bin Rashid al-Zayani on August 22nd, with the State Department saying that Blinken “expressed gratitude to Bahrain for the government’s humanitarian support in facilitating the safe transit of U.S. citizens and evacuees from Afghanistan.”

Pentagon press secretary Kirby added that the CRAF activation is unlikely to cause delays for those with scheduled commercial flights:

“The Department does not anticipate a major impact to commercial flights from this activation.”

United Airlines released a statement regarding the CRAF activation:

“We embrace the responsibility to quickly respond to international challenges like these and use our expertise to ensure the safe passage of our fellow countrymen and women as well as those who have risked their lives to help keep them safe.”

According to a report from CNBC, United Airlines, United Airlines will be utilizing four of their Boeing 777-300 planes during the program:

“United Airlines said it will use four of its Boeing 777-300 planes, which seat 350 passengers, for the CRAF order. The Chicago-based airline said it is still assessing the impact to its operation but that it will likely be minimal.”

Delta Air Lines anticipates to start having “multiple relief flights arriving back in the United States beginning Monday morning.”

American Airlines anticipates a similar timeline to that of Delta, noting they’ll have three wide-body planes ready to deploy by August 23rd.

Military bases throughout Qatar, Bahrain and Germany have reportedly been filling up fast with Afghan evacuees that are actively being flown out of Kabul.

The Pentagon have not made any additional comments on whether there would be any plans to expand the CRAF program beyond the 18 commercial aircrafts as of this writing.

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