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Warning of possible threats to the US in wake of Afghanistan attack and mass evacuation

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Federal officials are on high alert for threats to the homeland following the mass evacuation from Afghanistan and devastating attack in Kabul this week that killed US service members and scores of Afghans.

The Department of Homeland Security is tracking three primary threats, including whether individuals abroad in Afghanistan, who are associated with ISIS or al Qaeda, could use the relocation process as a way to enter the US, according to a federal government call with law enforcement partners on Friday, obtained by CNN.

“To counteract that, there’s an extensive screening and vetting process that is in place for those who are being relocated to the United States,” DHS Intelligence chief John Cohen said on the call.

The White House announced Friday that DHS will take on the major challenge of overseeing the federal government response for relocating evacuated Afghans to the US, an effort underway after tens of thousands of people were airlifted from Kabul in recent weeks.

All Afghans heading to the US are vetted against classified and unclassified information. Some of those relocated to the US are subject to secondary screening, which includes interviews by the FBI.

There are “a very small number of individuals who’ve been flagged for concern,” said an official with the National Targeting Center on the call, who appeared to be referring to people overseas at so-called lily pad transfer point locations, like Doha, Qatar.

Photo: U.S. Air Force loadmasters and pilots assigned to the 816th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron, load passengers aboard a U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster III in support of the Afghanistan evacuation at Hamid Karzai International Airport (HKIA), Afghanistan. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Donald R. Allen)

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