DHS Flags Some Afghan Evacuees as Terror Concerns

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Posted: Aug 28, 2021 4:30 PM
DHS Flags Some Afghan Evacuees as Terror Concerns

Source: AP Photo

U.S. Customs and Border Protection has flagged a "very small number" of Afghan evacuees as a terror "concern" during the vetting and screening process at military bases around the world. 

Officials from Department of Homeland Security, FBI and State Department spoke during a Friday call about the status of vetting and relocation efforts for Afghans evacuating their country after the Taliban took over. 

The Biden administration has ensured Americans that the vetting process is extremely thorough, but, until Friday's call, had not disclosed how many evacuees were flagged as a "concern."

"It’s exactly why CBP conducted careful and thorough vetting," Keri Brady, assistant director at CBP’s National Targeting Center, said during a call, according to a transcript obtained by ABC News

The call included talks on the vetting process and what steps will be taken after evacuees are admitted to the United States. Different threat scenarios being tracked domestically and abroad were also discussed.

DHS said it is also tracking people abroad who may look to use the evacuation process as a way to enter the U.S.

"We can’t rule out that this could be some type of additional motivator," said Timothy Langan, assistant director of the Counterterrorism Division. 

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki announced Friday that the DHS is leading the efforts to relocate evacuees following their departure from Afghanistan. A total of 117,000 people have been evacuated from the region so far.

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"Already, DHS has been working closely with agencies across government – including our military, diplomats, intelligence community and law enforcement professionals, and many others – to ensure all Afghans are screened and vetted prior to being allowed into the United States," Psaki said at a press briefing.

Relocated Afghans will receive extensive medical support, which includes access to COVID-19 testing and vaccines.

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