Say his name: U.S. Marine Rylee McCollum murdered by terrorists in Kabul. He was about to become a dad.

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BONDURAN, WY- Rylee McCollum, a 2019 graduate of Jackson Hole High School, has been identified as one of the U.S. Marines killed in the suicide bombing terrorist attack in Kabul, Afghanistan on Thursday, August 26th.

According to reports, this was McCollum’s first deployment to Afghanistan. He was reportedly “manning a checkpoint at the airport when the bomb went off.” 

McCollum was from Bondurant, a tiny community about 45 minutes from Jackson.

Roice McCollum, Rylee’s older sister, said he was expecting a baby in three weeks. She said:

“He wanted to be a Marine his whole life and carried around his rifle in his diapers and cowboy boots. He was determined to be in infantry …

Rylee wanted to be a history teacher and a wrestling coach when he finished serving his country. He’s a tough, kind, loving kid who made an impact on everyone he met. His jokes and wit brought so much joy.”

She added:

“Rylee will always be a hero, not just for the ultimate sacrifice he made for our country, but for the way he impacted life around him for the better. Making us stronger, kinder, teaching us to love deeper.”

A week prior to the terrorist attacks in Kabul, Roice shared a tribute to her brother has tensions worsened in Afghanistan. She wrote:

“Some people spend an entire lifetime wondering if they made a difference in the world. But, the Marines don’t have that problem. Stay safe Rylee. We love you and you have a little peanut to come home to.”

She added a prayer for members of the military fighting to protect freedom across the globe:

“Dear Lord, we honor our veterans, worthy men and women who give their best when they are called upon to serve and protect their country.

Bless them, Lord, for their unselfish service in the continual struggle to preserve our freedoms, our safety, and our country’s heritage, for all of us.

Bless them abundantly for the hardships they faced, for the sacrifices they made for their many different contributions to America’s victories over tyranny and oppression. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.”

Wyoming Schools Superintendent Jillian Balow also released a statement on the young Marine’s tragic passing:

“Saying that I am grateful for Rylee’s service to our country does not begin to encapsulate the grief and sadness I feel today as a mother and as an American. My heart and prayers are with Rylee’s family, friends, and the entire Jackson community.”

She added:

“We will find many ways to honor Rylee for this ultimate and untimely sacrifice in the coming months and years, but for now, my arms are wrapped around Rylee’s loved ones from afar and I pray they find some comfort.”

Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon (R) also spoke out after the news surfaced of McCollum’s untimely and tragic passing. He said:

“I’m devastated to learn Wyoming lost one of our own in yesterday’s terrorist attack in Kabul. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of Rylee McCollum of Bondurant. Jennie and I, along with all of Wyoming and the entire country thank Rylee for his service.”

Regi Stone, whose son Eli was friends with Rylee and enlisted in the Marines around the same time, said McCollum was smart, strong, courageous and a protector.

He would often stop by the Stone’s house for dinner or stay the weekend with their son before being called to boot camp. Stone added:

“They would blow in to have dinner and we’d hang out and laugh. We might shoot guns on our property, you know, skeet or something. They loved going to hang out with other friends, building a fire … he was just a lot of fun to be around. He was just a good, fun kid to have in the house.”

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Security concerns explode as Afghan refugees pour into U.S. before to proper processing

August 26th, 2021

WASHINGTON, DC – As forces and civilians inside Afghanistan struggle with a terrorist bombing that killed 12 U.S. Marines and the re-emergence of groups like al Qaeda and ISIS, the Biden administration is reportedly welcoming up to 50,000 Afghans into the United States without visas or proper immigration processing.

Three officials told Bloomberg News that the President is planning to use “humanitarian parole” to allow Afghans to resettle in the U.S. 

The program would target Afghans at risk from the Taliban but who have not yet requested, or do not qualify for, a special immigrant visa designed for people who aided U.S. forces or diplomats.  

“Humanitarian parole” is rarely used and is reserved for urgent situations where a person can obtain a one-year pass into the United States prior to completing their requests for asylum, refuge, or other lawful entry programs.

One senior official said that Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas is using the program to ensure evacuees from Afghanistan have legal status in the U.S. amid the rush to remove as many at-risk Afghans out of the country as possible before the August 31 deadline for full removal of American forces.

Democrats have called on President Biden to expedite Afghan refugees’ entry into the U.S. A group of Senate Democrats was joined by two Republicans in calling for humanitarian parole. Joined by moderate Republicans Sens. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), the group wrote:

“We strongly urge you to create a humanitarian parole category specifically for women leaders, activists, human rights defenders, judges, parliamentarians, journalists, and members of the Female Tactical Platoon of the Afghan Special Security Forces.”

Other Republicans are sounding concerns about the security environment as Afghans enter the country without full vetting. Wisconsin Republicans, for example, have expressed concerns about public safety and the cost of resettlement to taxpayers.

Federal officials said last week that Fort McCoy, located near Tomah, Wisconsin, was a site under consideration as an Afghan settlement site for an undetermined number of refugees. The government has estimated upwards of 20,000 refugees may be housed in three separate facilities inside the U.S.

Wisconsin state Senator Patrick Testin (R-Stevens Point) sent Gov. Tony Evers (D) a letter expressing concern over the lack of knowledge about the refugees. In the letter, Testin wrote:

“You have offered no information on whether you intend to insist on safeguards for the people of this state, or whether you intend to close your eyes and open your arms to 10 to 20 thousand potentially unidentified, potentially unvetted, potentially unhealthy people as they pour into rural Wisconsin.”

Testin said during a subsequent interview that he wants to welcome the refugees, but is concerned:

“We want to make sure that we are helping those that truly need to be helped, those who have helped our U.S. efforts overseas over the course of the last 20 years.

“We’re not trying to make this overly political; we just need some answers.”

Assurances from Garry Reid, lead for the U.S. Department of Defense’s crisis action group for Afghanistan, that refugees will go through full immigration processing once in the U.S. did little to dissuade safety concerns for Wisconsin U.S. Sen. Tom Tiffany (R):

“Our national security has been deeply degraded in the months since January 20 and allowing the mass entry of foreigners from a known hotbed of terrorism will only make this situation far worse.”

Several politicians from both sides of the aisle and leaders of allied countries have called on the President to delay the deadline for U.S. troop withdrawal from Afghanistan to allow more time to properly evacuate citizens in a controlled fashion.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said:

“The president needs to forget about the Aug. 31 deadline. Extend the deadline, get outside the perimeter, make sure that every single American who wants to leave is able to get out with our assistance and our Afghan allies.”

Earlier this week, during a G7 emergency meeting on Afghanistan, President Biden refused to change the deadline, citing concerns that terrorists could strike the airport. Tragically, he was right about that.

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Biden admits terrorists ‘may seek to exploit the situation’ in Afghanistan

August 24, 2021

 

WASHINGTON, DC – President Biden refused to give details on the U.S. plan for evacuations ongoing in Afghanistan, citing a risk that “terrorists may seek to exploit” the chaos if the United States does not leave the country soon.

In a televised speech from the White House Sunday evening, Biden said U.S. forces were communicating and coordinating with Americans in Kabul, working to get them to Hamid Karzai International Airport for evacuation.

He also said that forces have increased the perimeter around the airport to make it easier for people to arrive at the site safely. He refused to go into detail, but again insisted that any American who wanted to leave could do so:

“Our first priority in Kabul is getting American citizens out of the country as quickly and as safely as possible. But I will say again today what I’ve said before — any American who wants to get home will get home.”

The President then admitted that terrorists were a concern inside the country, including ISIS-K, an off-shoot of the ISIS caliphate that was destroyed in Iraq and Syria.

As the United States struggles to evacuate Americans and Afghans who aided the U.S. military during the war, an operation that has deteriorated into panic and chaos, the President spoke to the American people about the risk of terrorists inside Afghanistan:

“We know that terrorists may seek to exploit the situation. We’re under no illusions about the threat.

“We are maintaining the constant vigilance to monitor and disrupt threats from any source, including the likely source being ISIS-K, the Afghan affiliate referred to as ISIS-K.

But every day we have troops on the ground. These troops and innocent civilians at the airport face the risk of attack from ISIS-K at a distance, even though we are moving back the perimeter significantly.”

Since the President ordered the withdrawal of American forces from Afghanistan, the country has fallen into chaos as the Taliban took hold of power faster than Americans expected. As the evacuation began to look more like a retreat, the Taliban declared victory over American and has begun re-instituting Sharia law.

Americans have been harassed and assaulted making their way to the airport to be flown out of the country, and many Afghans who worked for the U.S. as interpreters and other support staff have been left behind.

Despite the operational failures, President Biden praised the progress of evacuations during his comments:

“I’ve continued to make progress since I spoke to you on Friday. We have moved thousands of people each day by U.S. military aircraft and civilian charter flights.

“A little over 30 hours – in a little over 30 hours this weekend, we’ve evacuated an extraordinary number of people, as I will detail in a minute: about 11,000 individuals. That number will change day to day as the air and ground operations in Kabul vary.”

https://twitter.com/Artem51780867/status/1430296371781902337

Former Trump Secretary of State Mike Pompeo criticized the withdrawal from Afghanistan, saying “it did not have to be this way.” He oversaw President Trump’s plan for withdrawal, which Biden rejected when he came into office.

Pompeo said the military should have been the last out of the country:

“So, President Trump had made clear in his campaign, he wanted to get our young men and women home as quickly as he could. We were striving to achieve that.

“He also made very, clear both when I was CIA director, but more directly to me when I was the Secretary of State, that we had a second objective—and that was to make sure we could do so in a way that was orderly, that got equipment home, that got American civilians out, and then protected our second objective there, which was to continue to be able to reduce the risk that we ever had an attack on the homeland from that place.”

Pompeo said the failed withdrawal could increase the risk of terrorism as Afghanistan provides ungoverned space for training camps:

“We shouldn’t lose sight of the fact that this terror threat is a global risk—we have to make sure we confront it, not just in Afghanistan, but every place we find it.

So, I do think if we get that piece wrong, and it appears that the collapse of the Afghan military because of the poor decision-making and planning of the Biden administration…

“It absolutely increases the risk of that whether it’s a month or six months or a year from now—that radical Islamic terrorists will have an ungoverned space in which to begin to plan and plot.

And it will be even more difficult than it needed to be to measure these plots and make sure we’re able to interdict them or take them down before they’re able to strike.”

 

 

 

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