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A female soldier at Fort Bliss said she was assaulted by a group of male Afghan refugees, officials say

Business Insider logo Business Insider 9/25/2021 kvlamis@insider.com (Kelsey Vlamis)
An aerial view of Fort Bliss' Doña Ana Village in New Mexico is seen Friday, Sept. 10, 2021. Farnoush Amiri/AP Photo © Farnoush Amiri/AP Photo An aerial view of Fort Bliss' Doña Ana Village in New Mexico is seen Friday, Sept. 10, 2021. Farnoush Amiri/AP Photo
  • A soldier at Fort Bliss said she was assaulted by a group of Afghan refugees, officials said Friday.
  • The FBI is now investigating the incident.
  • Thousands of Afghan refugees are being temporarily housed on military bases in the US.
  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

A female soldier at Fort Bliss reported she was assaulted by a group of male Afghan refugees, officials said Friday.

"We can confirm a female service member supporting Operation Allies Welcome reported being assaulted on Sept. 19 by a small group of male evacuees at the Doña Ana Complex in New Mexico," Lt. Col. Allie Payne, director of Public Affairs for Fort Bliss and the 1st Armored Division, said in a statement to ABC-7.

Payne said extra security measures will be taken at the at the Doña Ana Complex, such as better lighting, and that the soldier has recieved medical care and counseling. She also said the FBI is investigating.

Sources with knowledge of the incident told ABC-7 the assault was not sexual in nature and that the soldier was attacked near her car after arriving for duty.

Violence is an ongoing problem for female soldiers, particularly sexual assault and harassment. According to the nonprofit Futures Without Violence, "women in the military are particularly vulnerable to abuse due to geographical isolation from family and friends, and the potential for social isolation within the military culture."

During the US's withdrawal from Afghanistan, tens of thousands of Afghan allies and refugees were evacuated and sent to the states. Nearly 49,000 are being held on eight military bases throughout the country as they await resettlement, according to a federal document obtained by The New York Times.

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