State Secretary Antony Blinken Confirms Some Evacuated From Afghanistan As Child Brides
State Department Secretary Antony Blinken has confirmed on Tuesday during a Senate hearing that young children were evacuated from Afghanistan with older men as child brides.
Sen. Ted Cruz cited data from the World Health Organization that over 50 percent of wives in Afghanistan were married as child brides, according to a Breitbart News report.
The state secretary said that he did not know the exact number of underage girls who were evacuated with older men or how many were separated by officials after they landed.
Cruz had demanded to know what guidance the State Department has been provided to rescue minors among the evacuees that have been victims of sexual abuse.
"Humanity Crisis" to America
Cruz claimed that the Biden administration has failed to vet properly the Afghan evacuees brought to the United States. The Republican senator added that it potentially brings a "humanitarian crisis to America," according to a New York Post report.
Cruz also argued that the administration did not only fail to evacuate the Americans and green card holders from Afghanistan but also brought in tens of thousands of Afghans not fully vetted.
He noted that marriage and domestic abuse are widespread in Afghanistan.
Reports circulated that several Afghan women and girls told officials that their families forced them into marriage outside of the Kabul airport so they could be eligible for evacuation.
A senior official from State Department said authorities are taking the claims seriously and investigating, according to a CBS News report.
There were cases of child brides among the evacuated in Wisconsin and the United Arab Emirates.
Afghan girls at a transit site in Abu Dhabi have claimed to have been raped by older men they were forced to marry.
Some of those have more than one wife at Fort McCoy. It currently houses 8,800 Afghan evacuees, with its capacity being expanded to accommodate 13,000.
Fort McCoy has reported multiple cases of minor females married to adult Afghans, adding that there were also cases of polygamous families, according to an Associated Press News report.
Meanwhile, a Fort McCoy spokesperson said that the security and safety of the Afghan evacuees is a priority.
Officials in Abu Dhabi seek guidance to the cases of several girls being sexually assaulted by their "husbands."
The U.N.'s agency for children, UNICEF, estimates that over 650 million women today were married before the age of 18, according to a World Vision factsheet. Another 5.6 million girls under the age of 18 had become child brides in 2016.
Parents often view marriage as a way to protect their daughter from sexual violence, with child marriage rates having known to peak during the chaos of war.
However, child marriage itself leads to young girls and women experiencing high levels of sexual, physical, and emotional violence from their intimate partners.
Teenage pregnancy also urges parents to marry their daughters off, which is seen in both wealthy and poor countries where communities see pregnancy out of wedlock to be shameful.
This article is owned by Latin Post
Written by: Mary Webber
WATCH: U.S. looking into "child bride" cases among Afghan evacuees - from CBS News
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