FBI investigating reported assault of female Fort Bliss soldier by Afghan refugees

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Mark Milley

The FBI confirmed Friday that it is investigating the alleged assault of a female soldier at Fort Bliss, Texas, by several male Afghan refugees.

“We can confirm a female service member supporting Operation Allies Welcome reported being assaulted on Sept. 19 by a small group of male evacuees at the Doña Ana Complex in New Mexico,” Lt. Col. Allie Payne, director of Public Affairs for Fort Bliss and the 1st Armored Division, said in a statement to a local ABC affiliate.

While Payne declined to comment on specific details of the assault, she did say that the soldier received medical care and counseling in the wake of the attack.

Payne also said that additional security measures, such as improved lighting, were implemented at the Doña Ana Complex, according to the El Paso Times.

“We take the allegation seriously and appropriately referred the matter to the Federal Bureau of Investigation,” Payne added.

Special Agent Jeanette Harper of the FBI’s El Paso division told the ABC affiliate that their office “received the referral from Fort Bliss” and are investigating the allegation.

Harper did not elaborate any further on the incident or investigation.

Fort Bliss is one of eight military installations in the U.S. expected to house about 50,000 Afghan refugees evacuated from Afghanistan during the U.S. withdrawal.

Last week, according to the Hill, an Afghan refugee being housed at Ft. McCoy, Wisconsin, was charged criminally for attempting to engage in a sexual act with a minor.

James R. Webb is a rapid response reporter for Military Times. He served as a US Marine infantryman in Iraq. Additionally, he has worked as a Legislative Assistant in the US Senate and as an embedded photographer in Afghanistan.



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Tony Beasley
Tony Beasley writes for the Local News, US and the World Section of ANH.