U.S. officials are probing reports that amid America’s chaotic evacuation of Afghans from Afghanistan some older men were admitted along with with girls they claimed as “brides,” according to the Associated Press.
U.S. officials in the United Arab Emirates and Wisconsin have noted multiple instances of Afghan girls being presented to authorities as the “wives” of significantly older men, the outlet reported.
An Aug. 27 situation report dispatched to every American embassy and consulate abroad and to military command centers in Florida highlights possible issues pertaining to young girls and older men, some of whom allege to have multiple wives at Wisconsin’s Fort McCoy Army base, according to the AP, which obtained relevant sections of the document.
“Intake staff at Fort McCoy reported multiple cases of minor females who presented as ‘married’ to adult Afghan men, as well as polygamous families,” the document notes, according to the outlet. “Department of State has requested urgent guidance.”
U.S. officials in the UAE have dispatched a diplomatic cable to Washington alerting that some Afghan girls had been forced into marriages in order to get out of Afghanistan following the Taliban’s seizure of control there.
The AP reported that officials familiar with the message say it discusses allegations made by girls in Abu Dhabi that they had suffered sexual assault perpetrated by their “husbands” and that it asks for guidance regarding how to deal with such matters. “The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss internal communications,” the outlet noted.
Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas issued a scathing statement of rebuke regarding the possibility that the Afghanistan evacuation may have been linked with child brides being transported into the U.S.
“These reports are credible and horrifying,” Cruz said. “There have been multiple cases of child brides and polygamous families from Afghanistan arriving at military bases here in America as part of their botched evacuation. Reports even suggest that some of the exploitation was a direct result of the Biden administration’s chaotic evacuation process, a process that has enabled and incentivized coercion and abuse to the point where Biden Administration officials may well be complicit in child trafficking.
“Every Biden-Harris official linked to this disgrace should and must be held accountable,” Cruz declared.
President Biden’s administration has been heavily panned for bungling U.S. efforts to pull out of Afghanistan. The Taliban swiftly swept control of the country, leaving the U.S. scrambling to evacuate citizens and others. On Monday the U.S. announced the completion of the withdrawal, but some American citizens and many Afghan allies remain stranded there.
“I have asked the Secretary of State to lead the continued coordination with our international partners to ensure safe passage for any Americans, Afghan partners, and foreign nationals who want to leave Afghanistan,” President Biden said in a statement on Monday.