Daines demands answers on Afghan parolee accused of Montana rape, calls DHS statement 'deeply insufficient'


FIRST ON FOX: Sen. Steve Daines, R-Mont., on Friday wrote to the Biden administration calling for answers on the resettlement of an Afghan national who was resettled in Montana and has since been charged with rape — with Daines criticizing the initial response by the Department of Homeland Security.

“Your initial generic statements concerning Zabihullah Mohmand, an Afghan granted humanitarian parole by [DHS] and resettled to Missoula, Montana, and who was recently charged with sexual assault, have been deeply insufficient,” Daines said in a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.

AFGHAN EVACUEE CHARGED WITH RAPE IN MONTANA, GOVERNOR SAYS, DEMANDING RESETTLEMENT HALT

Mohmand was arrested in Missoula, Montana after police received a 911 call from the victim and a local motel about concerning behavior. Missoula Police Department told Fox that Mohmand, 19, is now being held at the Missoula County Jail on charges of sexual intercourse without consent and the case is being investigated by detectives.

The victim says she met Mohmand, who asked her to go back to her hotel room, but she said she did not want anything to happen, court documents reviewed by Fox News show. The victim was later seen in the lobby visibly upset and called 911, according to those documents. Authorities found the victim’s bra and socks in Mohmand’s room. The man said the incident was consensual.

Daines said that Mohmand was resettled in Montana in early October, “fewer than two weeks before allegedly committing this horrible crime.”

Feb 24, 2021: Sen. Steve Daines, R-Mont., speaks during a Senate Finance Committee hearing on the nomination of Xavier Becerra to be Secretary of Health and Human Services on Capitol Hill in Washington. (Michael Reynolds/Pool via AP)

Feb 24, 2021: Sen. Steve Daines, R-Mont., speaks during a Senate Finance Committee hearing on the nomination of Xavier Becerra to be Secretary of Health and Human Services on Capitol Hill in Washington. (Michael Reynolds/Pool via AP)

The case led to multiple lawmakers, including Daines and Gov. Greg Gianforte to call for a halt on resettlements in the state until there are assurances on vetting and answers about the case. 

The case comes amid continued Republican concerns about the vetting process of Afghan nationals, which the Biden administration has defended as both effective and multilayered — with crimes being relatively rare rare considering the numbers being brought in.

OVERSIGHT REPUBLICANS URGE DHS OIG TO INVESTIGATE AFGHAN REFUGEE VETTING, RESETTLEMENT

DHS released a lengthy statement Thursday evening, which did not confirm the specific details of Mohmand’s case but said that Afghan parolees are “expected to abide by the laws of the United States, both while in military installations and as resettled members of local communities.”

“Criminal behavior is not tolerated and those who violate the law are subject to prosecution and may be put into removal proceedings,” the spokesperson said. “|While at military installations, Afghan parolees are briefed about the conditions of their parole and that violating the law violates their parole.”

A spokesperson emphasized that individuals are subjected to “rigorous, multi-layered screening and vetting processes that involve biometric and biographic screenings conducted by intelligence, law enforcement, and counterterrorism professionals from the Departments of Defense and Homeland Security, FBI, National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC), and additional Intelligence Community partners.”

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In his letter, Daines made a number of requests for information, including whether Mohmand worked with U.S. Armed Forces in Afghanistan or a government entity, whether he was eligible for a Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) or refugee status, and what screening and vetting procedures he underwent.

The letter also asks whether Mohmand was interviewed by DHS or another agency, if there was any indication of a history of abuse of sex crimes by Mohmand, and if he committed any suspicious conduct while on a U.S. military base.

A DHS spokesperson told Fox on Friday that it responds to congressional correspondence through official channels.

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