A report claims the Taliban is bragging about using American-built equipment to identify and hunt down Afghans who assisted the United States and other nations in the war-torn country.
Zenger News reports via the New York Post:
Nawazuddin Haqqani, one of the brigade commanders over the Al Isha unit, bragged in an interview with Zenger News that his unit is using US-made hand-held scanners to tap into a massive US-built biometric database and positively identify any person who helped the NATO allies or worked with Indian intelligence. Afghans who try to deny or minimize their role will find themselves contradicted by the detailed computer records that the US left behind in its frenzied withdrawal.
The existence of the Al Isha unit has not been previously confirmed by the Taliban; until now the Haqqani Network, a terror group aligned with the Taliban, has not admitted its role in targeting Afghans or its use of America’s vast biometric database.
The U.S. National Counterterrorism Center has referred to the Haqqani Network as “the most lethal and sophisticated insurgent group targeting US, Coalition, and Afghan forces.”
“Now that Kabul is taken, operational work has taken a back seat and we’ve turned our focus on counterintelligence,” Haqqani said in an interview with Zenger. “While most of the brigade is now resting in different madrassas [Islamic religious schools], the Al Isha group is now the principal agency handling this [biometric] data project.”
“We’re in control of the Interior Ministry and the national biometric database they kept. We have everyone’s data with us now — including journalists and so-called human rights people. We haven’t killed a single foreign journalist, have we? We aren’t arresting the families of these people [who are on the blacklist] either,” he added.
The report comes after Politico revealed that U.S. officials based in Afghanistan provided the Taliban with a list of names identifying U.S. citizens and Afghan allies to grant them entry inside the Kabul airport’s outer area.
“Basically, they just put all those Afghans on a kill list,” a defense official told the news outlet. “It’s just appalling and shocking and makes you feel unclean.”
American forces working under heightened security and the threat of another terror attack pressed ahead with the evacuation from Kabul’s airport Friday, the day after a suicide bombing at the gates wrote a devastating final chapter to the nearly 20-year war in Afghanistan.
The death toll rose to 169 Afghans, a number that could increase as authorities examine fragmented remains, and 13 U.S. service members.
The White House and the Pentagon warned there could be more bloodshed ahead of President Joe Biden’s fast-approaching deadline Tuesday to end the airlift and withdraw American forces. The next few days “will be our most dangerous period to date” in the evacuation, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said.
Thursday’s bombing — blamed on Afghanistan’s offshoot of the Islamic State group, an enemy of both the Taliban and the West — marked one of the most lethal terror attacks the country has seen. The U.S. said it was the deadliest day for American forces in Afghanistan since 2011.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.