Pentagon says its aware of problems facing Afghan refugees

ARLINGTON, VA - SEPTEMBER 03: Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby speaks during a press briefing at the Pentagon on September 3, 2021 in Arlington, Virginia. The briefing was mainly focused on how the U.S. government and Department of Defense is handling and assisting with Afghan refugee resettlement. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

ARLINGTON, VA – SEPTEMBER 03: Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby speaks during a press briefing at the Pentagon on September 3, 2021 in Arlington, Virginia. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

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UPDATED 1:25 PM PT – Thursday, September 23, 2021

The Pentagon faces questions about the treatment and conditions for Afghan refugees at U.S. military bases. On Wednesday, Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby said the Department of Defense is aware of cases in which refugees are in need of food and clothing.

He also confirmed they’ve heard reports of male evacuees allegedly abusing women at temporary housing units. In addition, two Afghan refugees have been federally charged with child sex crimes and domestic abuse, both of which occurred at a Wisconsin facility.

A reporter grilled Kirby on how the Biden administration plans to address safety risks such as these.

“Some of the women are being harassed by former Afghan soldiers. Members of Congress are asking Secretary Austin to investigate what’s going on. Can you say if he’s received that letter asking for the investigation in any sense of the way ahead,” asked the reporter.

“We are certainly aware of these reports, and we take it very very seriously,” Kirby responded.

He went on to claim Secretary of State Antony Blinken is aware of these incidents and the White House would continue to work with interagency partners to alleviate concerns.

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