Two Afghan refugees have been detained and more are under investigation as the U.S. works to resettle tens of thousands evacuated from Kabul during the final days of the war in Afghanistan.
Despite those incidents, including accusations of child molestation, domestic violence and assaulting a female soldier, Air Force Gen. Glenn VanHerck, head of Northern Command, told reporters Thursday that he had crunched the numbers and found that crime rates in the evacuee resettlement facilities are much lower than in comparable U.S. populations.
“That Afghans are reporting incidents is a good indicator of their commitment to keeping the community safe, as well as their confidence in our people,” he said.
For example, he said, there have been eight reports of robbery or theft among the 53,000 evacuees currently in the U.S., whereas statistically, there are 150 or more reports generally in a population that size over the same time period.
While the Homeland Security and State Departments are responsible for screening the evacuees, and resettling them along with local non-government agencies, the Defense Department is responsible for their housing and medical care in the meantime.
Following measles outbreaks, 100 percent of evacuees in the U.S. have been vaccinated against the virus, VanHerck said, a condition of their legal residency status.
They are also 84 percent vaccinated against COVID-19 so far, he said. In regular testing, the positivity rate among the evacuees is 0.4 percent. For comparison, the daily positivity rate across the U.S. as of Sept. 30 is between 1.8 percent, in Rhode Island, up to Idaho’s 49.4 percent.
About 4,000 Afghans have been resettled from U.S. bases, VanHerck said, with another 14,000 in Europe and the Middle East awaiting transfer.
Meghann Myers is the Pentagon bureau chief at Military Times. She covers operations, policy, personnel, leadership and other issues affecting service members.