Afghan Man On Terror Watchlist Arrested In United States

Friday, 04/12/2024

Mohammad Kharwin, a member of the Hezb-e-Islami party of Afghanistan, listed on the US terrorist watchlist, was arrested following media reports of his free presence in the United States.

According to NBC News, Kharwin, 48, was arrested in March 2023 in San Ysidro, California.

US media outlets reported that Kharwin, despite being on the FBI’s terrorist watchlist, was freely roaming in the country.

According to the reports, Kharwin was detained in California in 2023 after illegally crossing the border from Mexico into the United States. However, because the information about him did not fully match the person on the watchlist, he was released on bail and under police supervision.

At the time of entering the United States, US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents apprehended Kharwin as one piece of his information matched an individual on the watchlist.

However, agents took his biometric data, and released him like any other asylum seeker. He was, then, allowed to apply for asylum and work permits and live and travel freely in the US for a year.

Nonetheless, the FBI provided information to ICE in February indicating that Kharwin had potential terrorist connections and could pose a national security threat to the country.

NBC News reported, citing sources familiar with the case, that almost a year after his release near the border, US police arrested him in San Antonio on February 28.

He was held in detention and on March 28, he appeared in the court. NBC News reported that prosecutors did not have classified information showing Kharwin’s tie the Hezb-e-Islami of Afghanistan, but they demanded his detention due to possibility of running away.

However, the judge released this member of the Hezb-e-Islami on bail.

FBI’s terrorist watchlist includes about 1.8 million people considered potential security threats.

The database shows that this individual is a member of the Hezb-e-Islami under the leadership of Gulbuddin Hekmatyar. According to the US, this party is a political and paramilitary organisation, designated as a terrorist organisation.

According to the US office of the director of national intelligence, Hezb-e-Islami is a "virulently anti-Western insurgent group" that sought to overthrow the West-backed government in Afghanistan before its collapse in 2021.

The party has been responsible for attacks in Afghanistan that resulted in the deaths of at least nine American soldiers and civilians from 2013 to 2015.

US does not consider this party a threat within its own borders.

Joe Biden, US president has said his priority for arresting and deporting immigrants is individuals considered a national security threat.

The US Department of Homeland Security responded to media criticism of Kharwin's release, saying that he was not released "knowingly".

The department told NBC News that initially the information did not fully match the person's information, but as soon as the information indicated that this person was of concern, he was arrested.

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