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Fort Bliss soldier allegedly assaulted by Afghan refugees at New Mexico Army complex

New York Daily News logo New York Daily News 9/25/2021 Jessica Schladebeck

The FBI has launched an investigation into an assault allegation raised by a Fort Bliss soldier at the Dona Army complex in New Mexico, where thousands of Afghan refugees are being housed.

The woman, who has not been named, said she was attacked “by a small group of male evacuees” on Sunday as she lent her support to Operation Allies Welcome, Fort Bliss officials said Friday. She is one of is among 1,000 service members involved in the mission, aimed at lending “support vulnerable Afghans, including those who worked alongside us in Afghanistan for the past two decades, as they safely resettle in the United States,” according to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

Tents are set up at Fort Bliss' Doña Ana Village, in New Mexico, where Afghan refugees are being housed, Friday, Sept. 10, 2021. © David Goldman Tents are set up at Fort Bliss' Doña Ana Village, in New Mexico, where Afghan refugees are being housed, Friday, Sept. 10, 2021.

Tents are set up at Fort Bliss' Doña Ana Village, in New Mexico, where Afghan refugees are being housed, Friday, Sept. 10, 2021. (David Goldman/)

“We take the allegation seriously and appropriately referred the matter to the Federal Bureau of Investigation,” Lt. Col. Allie Payne, director of Public Affairs for Fort Bliss and the 1st Armored Division, said in a statement to ABC-7. “The safety and well-being of our service members, as well as all of those on our installations, is paramount. We immediately provided appropriate care, counseling and support to the service member.”

Fort Bliss added that it “is also implementing additional security measures to include increased health and safety patrols, additional lighting, and enforcement of the buddy system at the Dona Ana Complex.”

Afghan refugees line up for food outside a dining hall at Fort Bliss' Doña Ana Village, in New Mexico, where they are being housed, Friday, Sept. 10, 2021. © Provided by New York Daily News Afghan refugees line up for food outside a dining hall at Fort Bliss' Doña Ana Village, in New Mexico, where they are being housed, Friday, Sept. 10, 2021.

Afghan refugees line up for food outside a dining hall at Fort Bliss' Doña Ana Village, in New Mexico, where they are being housed, Friday, Sept. 10, 2021. (David Goldman/)

No details regarding the assault have been released, though sources told ABC that it was not sexual in nature.

The FBI has since confirmed it is investigating the incident at the complex, which straddles the border between Texas and New Mexico, near El Paso.

During the US’s withdrawal from Afghanistan, tens of thousands of Afghan allies and refugees were evacuated and sent to the states. According to federal court documents the New York Times, nearly 49,000 refugees are being temporarily housed on eight military bases across the country while they await resettlement

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