Secrecy shrouds Afghan refugees sent by US to base in Kosovo

Asia's Tech News Daily

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. is welcoming tens of thousands of Afghans airlifted out of Kabul but has disclosed little publicly about a small group who remain overseas: dozens who triggered potential security issues during security vetting and have been sent to an American base in the Balkan nation of Kosovo.

Secrecy shrouds Afghan refugees sent by US to base in Kosovo
© Provided by Associated Press Inn this image provided by the U.S. Army, U.S.-affiliated Afghans arrive at the Pristina International Airport in Kosovo on Oct. 16, 2021. During their temporary stay at Camp Liya, Afghan families receive housing, medical, and logistical support from Task Force Ever Vigilant. The U.S. is welcoming tens of thousands of Afghans airlifted out of Kabul but has disclosed little publicly about a small group who remain overseas: Dozens who triggered potential security issues during security vetting and have been sent to an American base in the Balkan nation of Kosovo. The exact number in Kosovo fluctuates as new people arrive and others leave when security issues, such as missing documents, are resolved, according to U.S. officials. (Sgt. Gloria Kamencik/U.S. Army via AP)

Human rights advocates have raised concerns about the Afghans diverted to Camp Bondsteel in Kosovo over the past six weeks, citing a lack of transparency about their status, the reasons for holding them back and the question of what might become of any who can’t be cleared to come to the U.S.

“We are obviously concerned,” said Jelena Sesar, a researcher for Amnesty International who specializes in the Balkans. “What really happens with these people, especially the people who don’t pass security vetting? Are they going to be detained? Are they going to have any access to legal assistance? And what is the plan for them? Is there any risk of them ultimately being returned to Afghanistan?”

The Biden administration says it’s too soon to answer some of these questions, at least publicly, as it works feverishly to resettle the Afghans who were evacuated following the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan in August.

The lack of public information has made it a challenge for those who closely track the fate of refugees. “There’s not a lot of transparency in terms of how the security check regime works,” said Sunil Varghese, policy director for the International Refugee Assistance Project. “We don’t know why people are being sent to Kosovo for additional screening, what that additional screening is, how long it will take.”

So far, more than 66,000 Afghans have arrived in the U.S since Aug. 17, undergoing what the government portrays as a rigorous security vetting process to screen out national security threats from among a population that includes people who worked as interpreters for the American military as well as their own country’s armed forces.

Of those, about 55,000 are at U.S. military bases around the country, where they complete immigration processing and medical evaluations and quarantine before settling in the United States. There are still 5,000 people from the evacuation at transit points in the Middle East and Europe, according to the Department of Homeland Security, which is managing the effort known as Operation Allies Welcome.

The resettlement effort is under intense scrutiny following waves of criticism of President Joe Biden for the frantic evacuation U.S. forces and allies as part of the withdrawal from Afghanistan, which was put in motion when President Donald Trump’s administration signed a peace deal with the Taliban to end America’s longest war.

Trump and other Republicans have since criticized the administration for allowing insufficiently vetted Afghans into the country. Homeland Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas has defended the screening and said there have been only minimal threats detected among the arriving refugees.

The exact number at Camp Bondsteel in Kosovo, a small nation in southeastern Europe that gained independence from Serbia with U.S. support in 2008, fluctuates as new people arrive and others leave when security issues, such as missing documents, are resolved, according to U.S. officials.

The government of Kosovo, a close U.S. ally, has agreed to let the refugees stay in its territory for a year. The country also hosts a separate group at site adjacent to Bondsteel known as Camp Bechtel, where Afghans who worked for NATO nations during the war are staying temporarily until they are resettled in Europe.

For several weeks, there were about 30 Afghan evacuees, along with approximately 170 family members, at Camp Bondsteel because of red flags, according to one U.S. official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss information not publicly released.

They are in a kind of limbo because they aren’t detained but they aren’t necessarily free to leave either at this point.

They volunteered to be evacuated from Afghanistan but were flagged at one of the transit points in Europe or the Middle East and told they had to go to Kosovo. Some chose to bring their families with them while authorities work with analysts and other experts from the FBI, DHS and other agencies to resolve questions about their identity or past associations, said a senior administration official.

They are free to move about the the base but can’t leave under conditions set by the government of Kosovo, said the senior official, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss security and diplomatic issues.

Those sent to Bondsteel are people who require “significant further consideration,” involving analysis and interviews, before authorities feel comfortable allowing them to move on to the U.S., the senior administration official said.

In some cases, the analysis has led to a determination that they are “suitable for onward travel to the United States,” while in others the “work remains ongoing” and their cases remain unresolved, said the senior administration official, without giving a precise breakdown on the numbers involved.

The U.S. has not sent anyone back to Afghanistan and will decide the fate of anyone who can’t make it through the vetting process on an “individualized” basis, which in some cases might mean resettling them in another country, this official said.

In the meantime, though, Bondsteel remains off-limits to outsiders, including lawyers who might potentially represent people there if they aren’t ultimately allowed to enter the U.S., a situation that doesn’t sit right with advocates like Sesar. “There is not real access to the camp,” she said. “There’s no public or independent scrutiny of what happens in there.”

___

Associated Press writer Lolita C. Baldor contributed.

Internet Explorer Channel Network
Asia's Tech News Daily
News Related

OTHER NEWS

Biden says putting together comprehensive plan in Russia-Ukraine crisis

© Reuters/VALENTYN OGIRENKO The national flag of Ukraine flies over the town of Kramatorsk WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Joe Biden said on Friday he is putting together a set ... Read more »

'Worrying' number of children and pregnant women in hospital as omicron surges in South Africa

© Phill Magakoe/Pool via REUTERS Scientists say that omicron is behind the explosion of infections in the country’s Gauteng Province, which is home to both the sprawling metropolis Johannesburg and ... Read more »

ISL 2021-22 Highlights: Chennaiyin FC Held to Goalless Draw by SC East Bengal

© Provided by News18 ISL 2021-22 Highlights, Chennaiyin FC vs SC East Bengal: Chennaiyin FC have had four shots on target but have not been able to convert those chances. East ... Read more »

There's A Tiger King Spin-Off Coming And It Looks Ridiculous

Netflix/YouTube In March 2020, there was only one thing people could talk about. It dominated social media and had millions wondering about what the state of humanity would look like ... Read more »

Karnataka: All events in educational institution postponed

Events in all the educational institutions of the state have been postponed till January 15 next year. (Photo Courtesy: PTI) State Revenue Minister for Karnataka, R Ashoka, informed that the ... Read more »

Goa Archbishop nudges govt to preserve Old Goa heritage precinct

© Provided by Hindustan Times Goa Archbishop Filipe Neri Ferrão warned the state authorities to preserve the Old Goa heritage precinct lest it loses its world heritage status granted by ... Read more »

Ghaziabad's Nehru World School becomes UP's becomes first PASCH certified school

© Provided by Zee News New Delhi: Ghaziabad’s Nehru World School (NWS) has become the first school in Uttar Pradesh to be integrated into the PASCH network, a cooperative organization of ... Read more »

Kodiyeri Balakrishnan Returns as Kerala CPI(M) State Secretary After a Year-Long Hiatus

© Provided by News18 Kodiyeri Balakrishnan Returns as Kerala CPI(M) State Secretary After a Year-Long Hiatus CPM politburo member Kodiyeri Balakrishnan on Friday returned to the post of Kerala CPI(M) ... Read more »

Previous SP regime looted Bundelkhand: BJP reply to Akshilesh's 'befooling people' barb

© Provided by The Times of India LUCKNOW: On a day Samajwadi Party (SP) president Akhilesh Yadav completed his last leg of Vijay Rath Yatra in Bundelkhand region of Uttar ... Read more »

NCP attacks Centre over NCB asking states to take help in inter-state, int'l drug cases

National Congress Party spokesperson Nawab Malik criticised Centre on Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) chief’s letter asking states to seek NCB’s help with cases having inter-state and international ramifications. Malik said ... Read more »

Court discharges Chhota Rajan in 2002 extortion case involving his henchman

Court discharges Chhota Rajan in 2002 extortion case involving his henchman A special court dealing with criminal cases related to Rajendra Nikalje, alias gangster Chhota Rajan, has discharged him in ... Read more »

Omicron scare: Karnataka CM Basavaraj Bommai chairs meeting with experts, senior health officials

© Provided by DNA Just a day after the government confirmed two cases of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 in Karnataka, state Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai on Friday chaired a ... Read more »

Canadian grocery retailer Loblaw wins offshore tax case in top court

© Reuters/CHRIS WATTIE FILE PHOTO: A Loblaw logo is seen outside a grocery store in Ottawa OTTAWA (Reuters) – Canadian grocery retailer Loblaw Companies Ltd does not have to pay ... Read more »

Rishi Sunak tax warning: Hike to heat your home could QUADRUPLE

© Getty Rishi Sunak Announcing a new report on steps post COP25, Chair of the CCC Lord Deben said the UK needed to “walk the talk” and deliver urgent actions. ... Read more »

Motorists ‘overcharged 12p a litre' for petrol as fuel costs rise despite wholesale price fall

Supermarkets and petrol retailers have been been accused of overcharging motorists by as much as 12p a litre for fuel by increasing prices despite falling wholesale costs. The cost of ... Read more »

Architecture and design tutors join UK university walkouts over pay and pensions

Architecture and design tutors and academics are participating in strikes across the UK this week over pension cuts, falling pay and poor working conditions at their universities. © Provided by ... Read more »

Who is the referee for Rangers v Dundee, Celtic's game on Sunday and each weekend match in the cinch Premiership and SPFL Championship?

It’s been a busy week to be a football match official in Scotland – almost as busy as it has been to be a fan and keep up with a ... Read more »

Biden, 79, insists his alarming low and hoarse voice is just a COLD

© Provided by Daily Mail MailOnline logo President Biden raised concerns Friday morning sounding particularly hoarse as he delivered remarks on November’s jobs report, which was less robust than expected.    ... Read more »

UK records 50,584 Covid infections and 143 deaths amid Omicron spread

The UK faced a further 50,584 new Covid cases and 143 deaths on Friday. © PA Wire People wearing face masks walking along Oxford Street, London – PA Wire The ... Read more »

Britons can get paid £148,000 to move to a dreamy country next year - full list

New research by packaging retailer RAJA revealed the countries that will pay travellers to move there. There are many countries around the world with schemes that encourage people to move ... Read more »

The London hospitals that could be thrown into chaos as 40,000 NHS staff face sack over vaccine

London hospitals could be hit hard by staff shortages next year with tens of thousands still not double-jabbed. Health Secretary Sajid Javid announced in November that all frontline workers would ... Read more »

Ron DeSantis calls for Florida state military guard he would control

Florida Gov Ron DeSantis announced he would recommend $3.5 million in his state’s budget to re-establish a military guard that would answer to him. © Getty Images GettyImages-1333405306.jpg Mr DeSantis ... Read more »

Golf-Bekker takes three shot lead in South African Open

SUN CITY, South Africa (Reuters) – Oliver Bekker moved from joint overnight leader into a three shot lead at the midway point of the South African Open after carding a ... Read more »

Ange kicked while he's down after learning 'special' Celtic beast could miss next six games

Celtic forward Giorgos Giakoumakis could be out for three more weeks, Ange Postecoglou has revealed. © Provided by Transfer Tavern Georgios Giakoumakis in action for Greece The Lowdown: Giakoumakis’ struggles ... Read more »

Italian govt moves to crack down on violence against women

© Reuters/REMO CASILLI New Italian government led by PM Conte, is sworn in at the presidential palace in Rome ROME (Reuters) – Italy’s government approved a bill on Friday to ... Read more »

Lin-Manuel Miranda says directorial debut ‘Tick, Tick Boom!' is about 'failure'

“It’s not the story of the genius who made rent writing ‘Rent.’ It’s the genius who made ‘Rent’ spending 10 years writing the show that no one wanted to see," Miranda said about the late Jonathan Larson. Read more »

Venezuela denies visa extension for electoral observers-source

© Reuters/Ueslei Marcelino A woman holds a Venezuelan flag while participating in a candlelight vigil held for victims of recent violence in Caracas By Vivian Sequera CARACAS (Reuters) – Venezuela ... Read more »

Men's Junior Hockey World Cup 2021: India's title defence comes to end as Germans clinch dominant 4-2 win

© Provided by Firstpost Men’s Junior Hockey World Cup 2021: India’s title defence comes to end as Germans clinch dominant 4-2 win Bhubaneswar: Defending champions India’s dream of a second ... Read more »

Sri Lankan factory manager lynched and set on fire in Pakistan

© Provided by Al Jazeera Police officers stand guard at the site where a Sri Lankan citizen was lynched by a Muslim mob outside a factory in Sialkot, Pakistan [Shahid ... Read more »

ISL 2021-22: Night of Missed Chances for Chennaiyin FC in 0-0 Draw vs SC East Bengal

© Provided by News18 It was a night of missed chances but Chennaiyin FC would have felt hard done by as they featured in a goalless draw with SC East ... Read more »

IND vs NZ: Mayank Agarwal says THIS Sunil Gavaskar advice helped him score century on Day 1 of 2nd Test

© Provided by Zee News Mumbai: Indian opener Mayank Agarwal on Friday explained how he acted on the advice of former skipper Sunil Gavaskar to improve his side-on stance during ... Read more »

Line closed and 100m cordon in place after World War Two bomb found near rail track

An unexploded Second World War bomb has been found near railway tracks, leading to the delay of some train services. © Other Images of the unexploded World War Two bomb ... Read more »

Sara Sheridan to give talk on Edinburgh-set historical novel at the Botanics

Set in 1822, the novel features the Botanics’ move from its location at Leith Walk to Inverleith. © Meet author Sara Sheridan at the Botanics when she will be talking ... Read more »

Google maps sleuths spot ‘Nazi' house in the middle of a runway at Berlin airport

© Google Maps/Reddit House on airport runway Google Maps provides some extraordinary sights – and now, people are convinced they’ve spotted an old “Nazi house” at a major Berlin airport. ... Read more »

Glasgow city guide: Where to stay, eat, drink and shop in Scotland's cool capital of culture

While often overlooked by tourists seeking Harry Potter thrills in neighbouring Edinburgh, Glasgow is undeniably Scotland’s cultural heart, with the finest homegrown music scene in the country. It’s Scotland’s largest ... Read more »

Parents and teachers: what impact has the pandemic had on five-year-olds?

Photograph: lovethephoto/Alamy We would like to hear from parents and teachers about how this age group is coping We would like to hear about the impact the pandemic has had ... Read more »

Haiti cops caught soldier in stolen car. His fast release raises questions of unequal justice

The two armed men were on a mission. It was either to steal Widlore Mérancourt’s gray Suzuki Vitara, to kidnap him or to do both. As they drove him around ... Read more »

Biden announces ‘free' at-home Covid tests – but there's a catch

Biden announces ‘free’ at-home Covid tests – but there’s a catch Americans with private medical insurance will be able to have the costs of at-home Covid-19 testing kits reimbursed by ... Read more »

U.S. to not reimburse private health insurers for covering at-home COVID test costs

U.S. FDA authorizes first COVID-19 test for self-testing at home WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. government will not reimburse private health insurance companies for covering the cost of at-home COVID-19 ... Read more »

Ex-State Dept. employee sentenced for embezzling $150k in travel funds for SOUTHCOM events

A former State Department employee was sentenced to more than a year’s imprisonment Dec. 1 for his role in defrauding the department and the Defense Department of $150,000 through his ... Read more »
On free-english-test.com you will find lots of free English exam practice materials to help you improve your English skills: grammar, listening, reading, writing, ielts, toeic