Blinken must explain why Afghan evacuees use Uber to leave US base

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Blinken must explain why Afghan evacuees use Uber to leave US base

A Republican congressman from Tennessee sent a letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinken demanding a response to claims that Afghan evacuees ​at a US military base in Virginia are using Uber to leave the facility without being vetted, creating a significant national security threat.

Rep. Mark Green told Fox News’ Laura Ingraham Wednesday night that a source informed him that the Afghans have “free rein” at Fort Pickett in Virginia and that soldiers don’t have the authority to “arrest or stop” them from leaving.

​”​My source 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​,” Green wrote in the letter dated Wednesday.

“The soldiers tasked with guarding these evacuees are unarmed and have no authority to arrest or stop any of them from simply leaving​,” he said. ​

Green, a war veteran of Afghanistan and Iraq, said the allegations, if true, present a dire national security risk​.

Afghan refugees are seen processed inside Hangar 5 at Ramstein Air Base in Germany.
Afghan refugees are seen processed inside Hangar 5 at Ramstein Air Base in Germany.
Olivier Douliery / Pool via REUTERS

He demanded Blinken address the claims immediately.

​”I know firsthand that we have a responsibility to those who risked their lives to serve as interpreters for our troops. Their bravery and valiance helped save many American lives. However, 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​,” Green wrote. ​​

The State Department has been unable to disclose of all the evacuees how many are Afghans who worked with the US military during the 20 year war, how many possess special immigrant visas and how many are just Afghans seeking to leave the country to escape the Taliban’s rule. ​

Rep. Mark Green
Green told Fox News of the “shocking allegations” his source made.
AP Photo/Susan Walsh, Pool

Green said the Pentagon is not fully to blame because they’re working with incomplete information provided by the State Department.

​​”[T]he State Department is failing to give [the Pentagon] adequate information​. ​… They don’t know exactly how many [evacuees] are even there. So they can’t account for someone if they don’t return,” he ​told Ingraham​.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken
Green’s letter was sent to Secretary of State Antony Blinken and demanded a response to the allegations.
Olivier Douliery/Pool Photo via AP

“And they are telling the people if you go and you don’t come back, that will end your ​visa processing. If they want ​to be ​free, they are gone. There is nobody keeping them from leaving​,” Green said. ​​

He and Ingraham challenged comments from Gen. Mark Milley, the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff​, that the thousands of Afghans entering other countries are undergoing full security checks. ​

“What they’re doing as people come in, they’re getting their names registered. They’re doing the biometrics. They check their irises. They do their fingerprints. They take a full facial photo,” ​Milley said during a visit to Ramstein air base in Germany on Sept. 5.​

Green said that’s not accurate. ​​

A military truck exits the main gate to Fort Pickett
Green’s source informed him that the Afghans have “free rein” at Fort Pickett in Virginia.
AP Photo/Steve Helber

“We don’t have biometrics on a good portion of these people and we can’t really get information from State because they won’t provide names​. … They won’t even tell us how many American citizens they evacuated. We tried to get that number requested through the National Defense Authorization Act the other day and I could not get that past. It is just crazy. This State Department is a complete failure​,” he said. ​

Green said “we’ve had talks with people” who say Taliban fighters are slipping into those flights. ​

“So this is one of the greatest security risks this nation has ever had and this president and this State Department don’t seem to care,” ​he said. 

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