Rep. Mark Green: Unvetted Afghan Evacuees Going AWOL in USA?

Susan Jones | September 9, 2021 | 8:35am EDT
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Afghan evacuees arrive at Dulles International Airport near Washington, D.C., on August 27, 2021. (Photo by OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP via Getty Images)
Afghan evacuees arrive at Dulles International Airport near Washington, D.C., on August 27, 2021. (Photo by OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP via Getty Images)

( - Rep. Mark Green (R-Tenn.) wants to know if Afghan evacuees who are being held at Fort Pickett, south of Richmond, Virginia, are being allowed to leave the Army National Guard installation before they've been vetted.

In a September 8 letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Green said a source at Fort Picket "has made shocking allegations, including multiple incidents of sexual assault, and several evacuees have been picked up by Uber drivers without any permission from authorities -- or being cleared to leave. The soldiers tasked with guarding these evacuees are unarmed and have no authority to arrest or stop any of them from simply leaving," Green wrote.

Green, an Army veteran who served in Afghanistan, said he agrees that the United States has a responsibility to those who risked their lives as interpreters for U.S. troops:

"However," he wrote, "in recent days, reports indicate that the vast majority of evacuees were not interpreters, and the fact that the State Department has still not been able to provide a breakdown is simply unacceptable.

"If any of these allegations are true, they pose a serious risk to our national security and must be addressed immediately."

Green asked Blinken for an explanation as soon as possible.

Vetting done 'on the back end as people arrive in the U.S.'

In the chaotic rush to remove Americans and their Afghan allies from Kabul, an untold number of evacuees were not vetted. Blinken, speaking in Doha, Qatar on Tuesday, said the Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) program "was never designed for an emergency evacuation."

"It includes 14 steps required by Congress that we have to work through with many, many other agencies," Blinken continued:

And so despite our efforts to move as fast as we could and to make it more efficient, as I said, once we hit an emergency evacuation...situation, the program was not designed for that.

Now, as to the number of SIV applicants who have gotten out of Afghanistan, those that remain, we're working on getting numbers right now.  So many of the people who have left remain in transit, moving from the so-called lily pad countries toward the United States. In our effort to get as many people out as fast as we can while we had the airport functioning, we focused on doing just that, and we're doing accountings on the back end as people arrive in the United States.

Rep. Green told Fox News's Laura Ingraham on Wednesday night his concerns extend beyond Fort Pickett.

I'm talking to sources that are at multiple locations. The real challenge here is directions from State. DOD is getting its directions on how to handle these situations by the State Department. And the State Department is failing to give them adequate information. They are letting them leave. They can catch an Uber and actually leave the base. They don't know exactly how many are even there. So they can't account for someone if they don't return.

And they are telling the people, oh, if you go and you don't come back, that will end your visa processing. But if they want free, they're gone. There is nobody keeping them from leaving. And then you get the shocking allegations of harassment and sexual assaults, and it's horrific.

Green said many of the Afghan evacuees have no documentation at all (just like people arriving at the open southwest border, Ingraham noted). 

"We don't have any documentation. We can't prove the family units. They can do DNA tests, but unfortunately these people are just being allowed to leave the containment areas. They can just get up and walk out.

"And that is from multiple sites, not just Pickett. And they are not tracked, they're not accounted for. We have no way of knowing who they are. And we've had talks with people who are saying they know Taliban is in some of these flights. So this is one of the greatest security risk this nation has ever had, and this president and State Department don't seem to care."

Blinken indicated on Tuesday that the Biden administration doesn't know what categories of evacuees are now in the United States:

"So my expectation is, we will have a breakdown of the numbers of people who left Afghanistan, including not just American citizens but green card holders, SIV applicants, SIV visa holders, Afghans at risk, those eligible for P-1 and P-2 visas --all of that will be forthcoming in the days and weeks ahead as we're able to break down the numbers," Blinken said. 

"But I can say this: Of the 125,000 people or so who were evacuated from Afghanistan, the overwhelming majority were Afghans and Afghans at risk in one way or another, and so some significant number of that will almost certainly wind up being SIVs, SIV applicants, those eligible for the SIV program.  And when we have a full accounting, we'll make it available."

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