Trump says terrorists 'absolutely' airlifted from Afghanistan in US evacuation

Trump says, 'There has never been a war — win, lose or draw — and you bring everybody into your country'

EXCLUSIVE – Former President Donald Trump, in an exclusive interview with Fox News Digital, suggested that terrorists "absolutely" were airlifted from Afghanistan as part of the U.S. evacuation effort from Kabul last month, questioning the Biden administration's vetting process. 

The former president, during the interview, called the Biden administration’s effort to resettle Afghan allies "incredible." 

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"There has never been a war — win, lose or draw — and you bring everybody into your country," Trump said. "That’s a lot of people, and at a tremendous cost already—they’re talking about billions and billions of dollars." 

The Biden administration, last month ahead of its Aug. 31 deadline to withdraw all military assets from Afghanistan, airlifted more than 124,000 individuals from Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul. Biden administration officials said that included approximately 6,000 American citizens. 

Since the withdrawal, the Biden administration has said its mission has shifted from a military mission to a "diplomatic" one and it is committed to continuing to evacuate Americans left behind, as well as Afghan allies, some with pending Special Immigrant Visas (SIVs), who aided the U.S. military throughout the war.

But Trump warned that the individuals that the Biden administration are resettling in the U.S. could pose a risk to national security. 

"The people they are resettling — it's the worst. There was no vetting," Trump said. "And it is probably a tough group of people, because they were able to get on the plane, so they were aggressive." 

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"What does that mean? Does that mean you have terrorists there?" Trump asked. "Absolutely you do." 

At this point, the Department of Homeland Security has flagged 44 Afghan evacuees as potential national security threats to the United States, according to a report by the Washington Post last week.

Also last week, senior U.S. officials told Fox News that Camp Bondsteel, a U.S. military base in Kosovo, will temporarily house Afghan refugees who don’t pass the initial round of vetting. Those officials told Fox News that several refugees have already been sent to that base but said it was unclear what the next steps would be for those who failed the initial security screening — including whether they will be sent back to the now-Taliban-controlled Afghanistan. 

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The White House, though, said intelligence and counterterrorism officials were "working around the clock" to "vet all Afghans" before allowing them to enter the United States by using a screening process involving "biometric and biographic security reviews conducted by our intelligence, law enforcement, and counterterrorism professionals." 

The White House said those with SIVs and vulnerable Afghans were flown to third countries in Europe and Asia that had agreed to "serve as transit hubs" before undergoing "robust security screening and flying to the U.S." 

"You took some very bad people onto those planes and distributed them all over the world — with all of them coming to the United States, because the rest of the world is not going to take them," Trump continued. "The rest of the world is going to deliver them to the United States and ask for a lot of money for helping us out, but, you know, its a never-ending thing." 

The former president called it a "tough situation" but underscored that "no war has ever taken the people of a country where there was the war, and moved them into their country." 

Meanwhile, in addition to security concerns, the White House announced Friday that it has temporarily suspended flights bringing Afghan refugees into the country due to a measles concern.

"‘Operation Allies Welcome’ flights into the United States have been temporarily paused at the request of the [Centers for Disease Control] and out of an abundance of caution because of four diagnosed cases of measles among Afghans who recently arrived in the United States," White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters.

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She said that individuals are being quarantined and that the CDC has begun full contact tracing. Additionally, all arriving Afghans are required to have a measles vaccination as a condition of entry into the U.S.

The Associated Press had previously reported that "health safety concerns" had shut down flights out of Qatar and Germany. There are nearly 10,000 evacuees at the U.S. military base in Ramstein, Germany.

As of last week, DHS said approximately 60,000 Afghans have arrived in the U.S. since mid-August. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.