A senior Republican raised the alarm on Thursday about what he said was an “urgent” terrorist threat to the United States after the Taliban released thousands of detainees from Bagram Air Force Base in Afghanistan and at a time when people were crossing the “porous southern border.”
Ranking Member of the House Subcommittee on Immigration and Citizenship Rep. Tom McClintock wrote to Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas demanding to know what the Biden administration was doing to address the threat.
In his letter, he described how 7,000 were reportedly released from Bagram, including members of the Taliban, ISIS-K and Al Qaeda.
“We know that one of those terrorists detonated the bomb that killed 13 American servicemen on August 26, but the whereabouts of the others are unknown,” he wrote.
It is possible, if not likely, that many will attempt to enter our country through Mexico for the purpose of carrying out similar terrorist attacks.
“In fact, we already know that this year aliens found in the Terrorist Screening Database were apprehended on the southern border.
“The release of thousands of terrorists in Afghanistan and criminal cartels’ control of people smuggling on the southwestern US border mean the terrorist threat is urgent.”
Republican Rep. Tom McClintock has written to the Biden administration to find out what steps it is taking to ensure that former prisoners at Bagram Air Force Base cannot cross the southern border into the United States.
Taliban soldiers stand guard at the Seerena Hotel after US and British governments warned on October 14 to avoid hotels in Kabul citing threats.
McClintock wrote to the Secretary of Homeland Security to warn of the danger posed by former Bagram inmates. “It is possible, if not likely, that many will attempt to enter our country through Mexico for the purpose of carrying out similar terrorist attacks,” he wrote.
Indian intelligence sources first told local media that they believed the ISIS-K bomber had been released from Bagram.
Nearly 200 people died when he detonated his explosives outside the Kabul airport, where thousands gathered in hopes of escaping.
McClintock asked Mayorkas to provide a list of nationalities of people found on the southern border in 2021; details of anyone with a ‘terrorist screening database alert’; and whether any persons had been reported at Bagram.
Biden was widely condemned for the chaotic nature of the withdrawal from Afghanistan and the difficulties in rescuing US citizens and Afghan allies.
Republicans have repeatedly warned of the terrorist threat from Afghans arriving in the US
The latest warning came shortly after Fox News revealed that the Biden administration planned to exempt certain Afghan officials employed by the Taliban from terror-related bans from entering the US.
A new government memorandum, reviewed and revealed in a report Wednesday, shows that some Afghans who served in the Taliban government from 1996-2001 will not be subject to the same travel restrictions to the US as others to terrorism. related grounds of inadmissibility ( TRIG).
“Many individuals who served in civil service positions before the Declaration of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan in 1996 continued to do so after the declaration,” the document said. “Some did that under duress or other difficult situations.”
“Some used their positions in humanitarian capacities to reduce the repressive actions of the Taliban regime, often at great personal risk,” it continues. “Some of these officials later worked for or assisted the International Security Assistance Force, the United States government, or the Afghan government, which was established on December 22, 2001.”
The exempted persons must pass other background checks and screening requirements before being allowed to circumvent the terror-related travel restrictions to the US
Biden administration plans to implement new memorandum exempting officials who worked for the Taliban regime from 1996-2001 from terrorism-related travel restrictions to the US
The US continues to evacuate Afghan civilians from Afghanistan after the failed August withdrawal, which allowed the Taliban to quickly take over the country without the presence of foreign troops
A Biden official told Fox that the new memorandum will not change the existing screening and vetting processes for any individual coming to the US, noting that similar exceptions have been made with refugees from countries like the Soviet Union and Cuba.
‘The effect [of the memo] is that people who worked as doctors, elementary school teachers, civil servants or low-ranking government employees would not be automatically barred from entering the United States because they worked in those professions,” the official said.
They also claimed that the status of the memo is in the “pre-decisional” stage.
President Biden’s team is still working to evacuate thousands of Afghans following the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan.
The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) planning document outlines how the Department of Homeland Security will issue the memorandum.
The exemption will come after the Taliban were able to quickly regain control of Afghanistan after Biden withdrew all US troops from the country in late August without any fail-safes to ensure the Afghan government did not fall.
The Islamist militant group managed to take over the country in less than two weeks.
The US and other countries are now grappling with new leadership in Afghanistan after 20 years of conflict.
Biden was criticized for the failed withdrawal, which left hundreds of Americans and thousands of Afghan allies trapped in Afghanistan when the Taliban took over the country.
In the chaos of the withdrawal at Kabul airport, 13 US servicemen were killed in a suicide bombing blamed on ISIS-K.
Since his departure, Biden has already returned tens of thousands of Afghans to the US, including those deemed “at risk” by the withdrawal.
The government estimates that approximately 95,000 Afghans will be brought to the US this fiscal year.