In an exclusive interview with Fox News Digital, former one-term President Donald Trump claimed that terrorists were “absolutely” evacuated from Afghanistan as part of the US evacuation effort from Kabul last month, in an attempt to cast doubt on the Biden administration’s vetting process.
Trump says terrorists 'absolutely' airlifted from Afghanistan in US evacuationhttps://t.co/jX5iJ0sorh
— Fox News (@FoxNews) September 14, 2021
During the conversation, the former president also called the Biden administration’s efforts to reintegrate Afghan allies “incredible.”
“There has never been a war — win, lose or draw — and you bring everybody into your country,” Trump said. “That’s a lot of people, and at a tremendous cost already—they’re talking about billions and billions of dollars.
Last month, the Biden administration flew more than 124,000 people out of Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, ahead of a deadline of Aug. 31 to withdraw all military assets from Afghanistan. Officials from the Biden administration estimated that about 6,000 Americans were among them.
BREAKING: Qatari envoy says Qatar Airways plane at Kabul international airport will fly Americans, Westerners out of Afghanistan. https://t.co/0uLM3mChWs
— The Associated Press (@AP) September 9, 2021
Since the withdrawal began the Biden administration has stated that its mission has shifted from a military to a “diplomatic” one and that it is committed to continuing to evacuate Americans left behind, as well as Afghan allies who aided the US military throughout the war, some of whom have pending Special Immigrant Visas (SIVs).
Trump went on to say that the people that the Biden administration is resettling in the United States could endanger national security.
“The people they are resettling — it’s the worst. There was no vetting,” Trump said. “And it is probably a tough group of people because they were able to get on the plane, so they were aggressive.”
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“What does that mean? Does that mean you have terrorists there?” Trump asked. “Absolutely you do.”
According to a report published last week in the Washington Post, the Department of Homeland Security has identified 44 Afghan evacuees as potential national security dangers to the United States.
Unnamed senior US sources reportedly told Fox News last week that Afghan migrants who fail the initial round of vetting will be temporarily housed at Camp Bondsteel, a US military base in Kosovo. Several migrants have already been taken to that base, according to those sources, but it is unclear what would happen to those who failed the initial security screening, including whether they will be deported back to now-Taliban-controlled Afghanistan.
The White House says that intelligence and counterterrorism officials were “working around the clock” to “vet all Afghans” before allowing them to enter the country through a screening process that included “biometric and biographic security reviews conducted by our intelligence, law enforcement, and counterterrorism professionals.”
Those with SIVs and vulnerable Afghans were transported to third nations in Europe and Asia that agreed to “act as transit hubs” before going through “extensive security screening and flying to the United States,” according to the White House.
“You took some very bad people onto those planes and distributed them all over the world — with all of them coming to the United States because the rest of the world is not going to take them,” Trump continued to claim. “The rest of the world is going to deliver them to the United States and ask for a lot of money for helping us out, but, you know, it’s a never-ending thing.”
The former president described the situation as “difficult,” but said that “no conflict has ever pulled the people of a country where there was a war back into their country.”
In the meantime, the White House announced Friday that, in addition to security concerns, it has temporarily halted flights transporting Afghan refugees into the nation owing to a measles outbreak.
“‘Operation Allies Welcome’ flights into the United States have been temporarily paused at the request of the [Centers for Disease Control] and out of an abundance of caution because of four diagnosed cases of measles among Afghans who recently arrived in the United States,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki told journalists during a press briefing.
Individuals are being isolated, and the CDC has undertaken thorough contact tracing, Psaki said. In addition, all Afghans arriving in the United States must have a measles vaccination as a condition of entry.
Previously the Associated Press had reported that flights out of Qatar and Germany had been canceled due to “health safety concerns.” Nearly 10,000 people have been evacuated from the US military station in Ramstein, Germany. According to the Department of Homeland Security, around 60,000 Afghans have landed in the United States since mid-August.