Saturday, May 25, 2024

Hezb-e-Islami member on FBI watchlist released after US border police detention

Immigration News

Fidel Rahmati
Fidel Rahmatihttps://www.khaama.com
Fidai Rahmati is the editor and content writer for Khaama Press. You may follow him at Twitter @FidelRahmati
Image/NY Times.

A member of Hezb-e-Islami led by Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, listed on the US terrorist watchlist, stayed in the US for nearly a year after being apprehended and released by Border Patrol agents, as reported by US officials to NBC News.

Despite being arrested in February, the individual was released once more last month by an immigration judge, who was unaware of the individual’s classification as a national security threat.

Mohammad Kharwin, 48, released on bond awaiting a 2025 immigration hearing in Texas without movement restrictions, was rearrested Thursday by ICE, stated a Homeland Security spokesperson. A source noted no evidence of terrorist involvement in his entry to the U.S.

“based on the information currently available, there is no reason to believe this individual entered the country as part of a terrorist mission,” as reported by NBC News.

Kharwin was arrested near San Ysidro, California, on March 10, 2023, crossing the Mexico-U.S. border illegally. Border agents suspected he matched a person on the U.S. terrorist watchlist but lacked confirming details. Customs and Border Protection released him without informing ICE about potential terrorism ties after processing his biometric data.

Kharwin, on the FBI’s national terrorist watchlist, enrolled in ICE’s Alternatives to Detention Program, necessitating periodic check-ins by phone. Despite his affiliation with Hezb-e-Islami (HIG), he could apply for asylum, work authorization, and travel domestically within the U.S., according to officials.

Nearly a year later, the FBI informed ICE that Kharwin was suspected to be affiliated with the US-designated foreign terrorist organization Hezb-e-Islami (HIG).

HIG, a militant group operating in Afghanistan and parts of Pakistan, is labeled by the National Counterterrorism Center as “virulently anti-Western” and responsible for US soldier and contractor deaths. Kharwin was arrested by ICE agents on Feb. 28 in San Antonio, Texas, though his time in custody was brief.

Since 2017, Border Patrol agents have encountered 370 migrants on the terror watchlist illegally crossing between ports of entry, per CBP statistics. Under President Biden, numbers surged, with 172 migrants with suspected terrorism ties encountered in 2023 and 70 in the current fiscal year.

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