An Afghan refugee who was flying to the U.S. from the Ramstein Air Base in Germany was detained by airport authorities after explosive materials were discovered in his luggage.
Screeners at the airport found an igniter switch, blasting caps, and other materials inside the bag. The refugee is not suspected to be a terrorist and has a history of working in counterterrorism operations for the U.S. government.
The man reportedly forgot that the items were in his luggage while fleeing Afghanistan. The equipment recovered from his bag were items that could be easily purchased, and on their own do not pose any kind of danger.
According to a Transportation Security Administration (TSA) memo that detailed the incident, the man was identified as an Afghan citizen born in the early nineties. His name was included in a “red list,” and he will not be allowed to travel to the U.S. The matter is currently being investigated by the TSA, Defense Department, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), U.S. Customs, and the Department of Homeland Security and Border Protection.
This incident took place amidst criticism against the Biden administration regarding the processing of Afghan refugees entering the U.S. Critics allege government officials are not enforcing adequate safeguards to ensure that terrorists do not enter the country.
“It is a national security issue, and when I see that, previously, there was a 14-step process that had been established that took anywhere from 18 to 24 months in order to clear these individuals, I don’t see how in the world we can take well over 100,000 people now, and all of a sudden wave a magic wand and condense that vetting period and process into a couple of weeks’ time,” Montana Republican Representative Matt Rosendale said to Washington Examiner.
The Biden administration had previously endorsed the reliability of the refugee vetting process. A senior official from the administration said last month that U.S. counterterrorism operatives and officials assigned to the process were working “around the clock” to ensure that no security lapses occurred. The vetting process includes biometric and biographic security screenings.
Department of Homeland Security (DHS) secretary Alejandro Mayorkas recently stated that 50,000 Afghans would be admitted into the United States. Republican Tom Tiffany, who visited one of the military bases housing the refugees, stated that all of them were on parole and were allowed to leave the base. He blamed Washington for circumventing the Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) procedures for refugees.