ICE Apprehends Afghan Man On Terror Watchlist

It was previously reported that Afghan national Mohammed Karwan had been released on American soil twice

<p>An ICE operation in Los Angeles in 2017. The ICE has apprehended Mohammed Karwan, an Afghan national on a US terror watchlist. ASSOCIATED PRESS.</p>

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has apprehended an Afghan man on the US terror watchlist again. The Department of Homeland Security says that he was previously caught crossing the US-Mexico border illegally and released twice. “Mohammed Karwan is a member of Hezb-e-Islami, a group linked to attacks in Afghanistan that killed at least nine Americans between 2013 and 2015. Karwan was first arrested in March 2023 after illegally entering the US near San Ysidro, California,” said media reports. 


According to DHS officials, Karwan was not on the terror watchlist during that arrest and was referred to ICE, which released him on ATD – alternatives to detention. At the time of his apprehension, “there was not conclusive information” to match him to the FBI’s Terrorism Watch List. 


In February 2024, new information led to Karwan being placed on the terror watchlist. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) then arrested him in San Antonio. However, during a recent court hearing, DHS prosecutors didn’t mention the terror watchlist or national security concerns. They only argued he might flee, and the judge released him on bond. DHS says they can’t disclose details about court proceedings and are limited in what they can tell judges. 


It has been reported that Karwan will appear in court next year after he was detained again this past Friday. “DHS takes seriously its responsibility to ensure that those who enter the country don’t pose a threat to our national security. If an individual poses a threat to national security or public safety, we deny admission, detain, remove, or refer them to other federal agencies for further vetting, investigation and/or prosecution as appropriate,” said a DHS spokesperson. 


“Vetting is a point-in-time check that evaluates information available to the U.S. Government at that time. If individuals who have entered the country are later found to be associated with information indicating a potential national security or public safety concern, DHS and our federal partners have procedures in place to investigate and take appropriate act,” added the spokesperson. 


“Hezb-e-Islami, or ‘Party of Islam,’”  has been described by the U.S. National Counterterrorism Center as a “political and paramilitary organization in Afghanistan. It founded in 1976 by former Afghan prime minister Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, who has been prominent in various Afghan conflicts since the late 1970s. . It adds that Hezb-e Islami Gulbuddin (HIG) is an offshoot of that original Hezb-e-Islami, and is a virulently anti-Western insurgent group whose goal is to replace the Western-backed Afghan Government with an Islamic state rooted in sharia in line with Hekmatyar’s vision of a Pashtun-dominated Afghanistan.