Eight Men from Tajikistan, Suspected of Terror Links, Face Deportation from U.S.

U.S. Border Patrol agent apprehends migrants; image: Defense Visual Information Distribution

Authorities in the U.S. have arrested eight people from Tajikistan who have possible ties to the Islamic State group, according to U.S. media reports.

The men had entered the United States through the southern border with Mexico after background checks failed to turn up any security concerns and were detained this past weekend in New York, Philadelphia and Los Angeles, according to the reports on Tuesday. The reports cited officials who were familiar with the investigation and requested anonymity.

Agents from the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, arrested the men on immigration charges after being alerted by the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Forces of their possible links to the terror group, according to the sources.

“At least two of the men crossed the border in the spring of 2023 and one of those men used the CBP One app, created by the Biden administration to allow migrants to book appointments to claim asylum, those officials say, NBC News reported. “The FBI’s Joint Terrorism Taskforce has been aware of a potential terror threat originating in Central Europe and began monitoring these men as part of that investigation, three sources say.”

ABC News carried a similar report, saying U.S. authorities had “uncovered derogatory information indicating ties or affiliation” with the Islamic State.

“Efforts are underway to deport the suspects as currently authorities have not developed enough evidence to bring any terrorism charges,” ABC said.

Several men from Tajikistan were among suspects arrested for the killing of more than 140 people in an attack on the Crocus City Hall, an entertainment venue, on the outskirts of Moscow on March 22. The Islamic State group, which has recruited some people from Central Asia, claimed responsibility. The extremist group has disseminated propaganda in languages including Tajik and Uzbek.

Earlier this year, ICE agents arrested an Uzbek man with alleged Islamic State ties after he had been living in the United States for over two years, U.S. officials said. The man, Jovokhir Attoev, was held after crossing the southern border in 2022, but later released. In May 2023, Uzbekistan put out a notice saying Attoev was wanted for his alleged links to the militant organization.