Did the Taliban Infiltrate Afghan Refugees into the US?

Among the thousands of Afghans flown to America in the chaotic evacuation from Kabul last August, about 50 are being watched by authorities for “a significant potential security concern.”

US officials have not ruled out the possibility that the 50 could be members of the Taliban group that now rules Afghanistan.

A Department of Defense inspector general report last month concluded that “US (representative) offices do not use all available data when selecting Afghan refugees” and that “America faces potential security risks” if certain Afghans are “allowed to reside in the US.”

The report alarmed lawmakers on Capitol Hill. Earlier this month, Senator Susan Collins, a Republican senator from Maine, said that fulfilling America’s obligations to Afghans “does not mean compromising a thorough and comprehensive screening process for Afghans who manage to board a plane before the last US plane leaves the runway (at Kabul airport).”

Collins spoke at a hearing where he pressured Director of Defense Intelligence Scott Berrier about the existence of “at least 50 people with security concerns.” Berrier replied that he didn’t know but would “give an answer” to Collins.

Officials at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which oversees the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, have not responded to several VOA questions about the status and whereabouts of the 50 Afghan refugees in question.

The State Department, which helped coordinate the evacuation of more than 124,000 Afghans last year, said improvements were continuing to be made to Afghanistan’s resettlement program. [my/pp]