Two Afghan nationals who fled Kabul, Afghanistan, following the Taliban takeover of the country in August have been accused of committing crimes during their stay at Fort McCoy, a military base in Wisconsin.
A federal grand jury in Wisconsin indicted the pair in unrelated cases. Bahrullah Noori, 20, is charged with one count of attempting to engage in a sexual act with a minor by using force and three counts of engaging in a sex act with a minor, with one count also alleging the use of force.
Both of Noori’s alleged victims were under the age of 16, making them at least four years younger than him, according to the indictment.
During his stay at the U.S. military base, located about 100 miles northwest of Madison, Wisconsin, Noori allegedly touched the genitalia of one of his victims on three separate occasions, with one of the alleged assaults taking place in a barrack and the others in a bathroom, the indictment states.
The second Afghan refugee, Mohammad Haroon Imaad, 32, is charged with assaulting his spouse by strangling and suffocating her. That incident allegedly took place on Sept. 7.
According to an indictment, Imaad’s wife told soldiers through an interpreter that he had hit their children on “multiple occasions.” She alleged that her husband “beat me many times in Afghanistan to the point I lost vision in both eyes.”
His wife also alleged that she had been raped by her husband and that he threatened to “send her back to Afghanistan where the Taliban could deal with her,” according to the indictment.
Noori and Imaad appeared in court in Madison on Sept. 16 to face the charges against them and are currently being detained at the Dane County Jail.
They're both scheduled for arraignment on Sept. 23, at 9.30 a.m. and 10.15 a.m., respectively, before U.S. Magistrate Judge Stephen L. Crocker, the Department of Justice said in a statement.
If convicted, Noori faces a mandatory minimum penalty of 30 years and a maximum of life in federal prison on the charges alleging use of force, and a maximum penalty of 15 years on the other two charges. Imaad faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.
The charges follow an investigation by the FBI and the Fort McCoy police.
The pair were among more than 12,000 Afghan nationals who were evacuated from the country and transported to Fort McCoy as President Joe Biden withdrew U.S. troops, according to The Associated Press.