Montana’s Governor Wants Biden to Halt Afghan Resettlement After Evacuee Charged With Rape

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Montana Governor Greg Gianforte called on President Joe Biden to stop the Afghan refugee resettlement program in his state after an evacuee who had been resettled in Missoula was charged with rape.

“The system requires a careful, immediate reevaluation,” Gianforte wrote to President Biden on October 27. “As governor, the safety, security, and wellbeing of Montanans is my top priority. Tragic events over the last few weeks, including one in Montana, have brought to the front issues with your vetting system.”

The Christian Post reported that Gianforte was responding to the arrest of 19-year-old Zabihullah Mohmand, who has been accused of sexually assaulting an 18-year-old woman who called 911 on October 17 to report that she’d been raped.

Mohmand told police that he was on a worldwide trip from Afghanistan, according to NBC Montana, and claimed the woman seemed to like him after they met at a bar and that the incident, which occurred after she went back to his hotel room with him, had been consensual.

The outlet reported that Mohmand was in Missoula as part of the federal government’s Afghan Placement and Assistance Program.

U.S. Senator Steve Daines of Montana has also applied pressure to the Biden administration following Mohmand’s arrest, issuing a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas requesting more information into why the evacuee had received humanitarian parole status.

A spokesperson for the agency, meanwhile, told the outlet KULR that everyone accepted into federal resettlement programs is subject to exhaustive vetting.

“Before individuals are permitted to enter the United States, they are subject to rigorous, multi-layered screening and vetting processes that involve biometric and biographic screenings conducted by intelligence, law enforcement, and counterterrorism professionals from the Departments of Defense and Homeland Security, FBI, National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC), and additional Intelligence Community partners,” the spox said.

The Biden administration has faced criticism for inadequate vetting of refugees since the evacuation of Afghanistan began in late August after the nation fell to the Taliban ahead of the full withdrawal of NATO troops.

In September, two refugees who had been processed in Fort McCoy, Wisconsin were arrested and charged in separate incidents of alleged sexual assault, and leaked internal memos from federal agencies revealed previously that concerns arose that the army base had also processed evacuees who were accompanied by their child brides.

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