One Afghan evacuee being held at an American military base in Wisconsin tried to coerce two young boys into having sex with him, while another tried to strangle his wife, federal officials said in charging documents unsealed this week.
The men, Bahrullah Noori and Mohammad Haroon Imaad, were arraigned Thursday and entered pleas of “not guilty.”
The charges appear to be the first lodged against recent Afghanistan evacuees who have reached the U.S.
In this case, both men were among 13,000 evacuees at Fort McCoy in Wisconsin, one of a number of military bases holding tens of thousands of Afghans airlifted out of Kabul last month in the chaotic scramble to meet President Biden’s withdrawal deadline.
“When you bring tens of thousands of Afghans into American communities now and ask questions later, as President Biden has done, bad things are bound to happen,” said Rep. Tom Tiffany, a Wisconsin Republican who has been tracking developments at Fort McCoy.
“This is why I raised concerns about the White House’s loose vetting policies early on. Unfortunately I don’t think this will be the last time we see something like this,” he said.
Mr. Noori, 20, repeatedly tried to get two boys, cousins aged 12 and 14, to have sex, and cajoled them into touching him, according to court documents.
The father of one of the boys reported the incident after hearing his nephew crying in the bathroom and found Mr. Noori twisting the boy’s hand to try to force him. The boy, through a translator, later told investigators Mr. Noori told him to “give me your ass.”
The other boy told investigators he too was accosted in the bathroom and that Mr. Noori also regularly tried to get the boy into his cot.
In one bathroom incident, Mr. Noori told the boy to “give me your ass or I’ll beat you.” When the boy pulled away Mr. Noori bit him on the cheek, the court documents allege. Agents aid they did observe a slight discoloration to the boy’s cheek.
Both boys said Mr. Noori had been “doing this kind of thing for the last couple of weeks,” and they’d been told not to say anything or he would beat them, an FBI agent said in an affidavit.
Mr. Noori was indicted on multiple charges of attempted sex with a juvenile between 12 and 15, including one by force.
In separate charges, Mr. Imaad, 32, is accused of assaulting his wife by trying to strangle or suffocate her.
The woman told investigators at the base that Mr. Imaad raped her, and he told her he would send her back to Afghanistan “where the Taliban could deal with her,” the FBI agent wrote.
Through an interpreter, she told investigators Mr. Imaad tried to choke her while at the base and said he “beat me many times in Afghanistan to the point I lost vision in both eyes.”
The wife, identified only by initials B.I., also said Mr. Imaad struck their children.
At his arraignment Thursday Mr. Imaad asked for an “extremely expedited” schedule, the judge said. Jury selection and trial are slated to start Nov. 1.
Mr. Noori‘s case is particularly striking, given worries over the practice of adult men in Afghanistan making juvenile boys their sexual companions — known as “bacha bazi,” which translates roughly to “boy play.”
Some analysts have warned that the practice will likely increase under the Taliban in Afghanistan, and wondered whether it would reach the U.S. through the evacuees.
More broadly, security experts have complained about the massive numbers involved in the airlift, warning that there’s little chance to do significant vetting.
Biden administration officials have acknowledged that forced child brides were brought to the U.S. by men in the airlift.
The Washington Times has also reported on a convicted rapist and a convicted aggravated robber who made it through overseas vetting and reached the U.S. Both of them were flagged by a Customs and Border Protection officer at Washington Dulles International Airport.
The airlift was sold to the public as a chance to evacuate Afghans who assisted the two-decade U.S. war effort, though Biden officials now say they brought out people who don’t qualify under that category, but who still needed evacuation.
The administration has been unable to detail the number of people who did assist the U.S. effort, versus those who were airlifted out for other reasons.