Gianforte asks for Biden to halt Afghan resettlements

Questions remain whether accused Missoula man was part of resettlement or touring the area

By: - October 21, 2021 8:12 pm

Gov. Greg Gianforte speaks after being sworn in to office on Monday, Jan. 4, 2021 in the Governor’s Reception Room of the Montana State Capitol. (Photo by Thom Bridge of the Helena Independent Record)

Gov. Greg Gianforte is calling on President Joe Biden to halt all Afghan resettlement to Montana after an Afghan man was charged with sexual assault in Missoula.

The governor said the man was resettled in the city without proper vetting from the federal government. The man originally told police he was on “a worldwide trip.”

The accused perpetrator is Zabihullah Mohmand. The 19-year-old was charged with sexual assault following an incident on Oct. 17 in Missoula.

Mohmand originally told police that he was in Missoula on a worldwide trip, but a spokesperson for the Department of Public Health and Human Services said he is a humanitarian parolee who was placed in Missoula in October as part of the federal Afghan Placement and Assistance Program.

The Daily Montanan could not immediately verify the man’s identity Thursday.

When asked Thursday, Gianforte did not provide any details as to why he thought Mohmand was not thoroughly vetted: “We don’t have all the data yet … I’m going to leave it at that until the analysis is done.”

As of Thursday, 20 individuals have resettled in Missoula as part of the federal Afghan Placement and Assistance Program, according to the Health Department.

“I’m calling on President Biden to immediately halt resettlements to Montana until federal agencies provide me with adequate assurance that Afghans coming to Montana are fully-vetted in accordance with federal law,” Gianforte said in a statement.

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Keith Schubert
Keith Schubert

Keith Schubert was born and raised in Wisconsin and graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2019. He has worked at the St.Paul Pioneer Press, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and most recently, the Asbury Park Press, covering everything from local craft fairs to crime and courts to municipal government to the Minnesota state legislature. In his free time, he enjoys cheering on Wisconsin sports teams and exploring small businesses. Keith is no longer a reporter with the Daily Montanan.