Report: Taliban Using US Biometric Equipment to Hunt Targets
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The latest and most advanced U.S. military technology is now in the hands of the Taliban. It's being used to track and hunt Afghan allies. This has been confirmed directly by Taliban leaders, according to the New York Post.
The Post reports that Taliban leaders are bragging about their newfound tools and putting them into immediate use. To that end, a new terrorist unit, Al Isha, has been formed specifically to hunt down Afghan targets who have assisted U.S. and allied forces in the region over the past 20 years.
Nawazuddin Haqqani, one of the brigade commanders of the Al Isha unit, bragged in an interview that his unit is using U.S.-made hand-held scanners to tap into a massive U.S.-built biometric database. This sophisticated technology can identify any person who helped the NATO allies or worked with Indian or American intelligence.
Afghans who try to deny or minimize their role will find themselves contradicted by the detailed computer records that the U.S. left behind in its frenzied withdrawal, Haqqani said.
U.S. officials have not confirmed how many of the 7,000 hand-held scanners were left behind or whether the biometric database could be remotely deleted.
The Haqqani Network is ''the most lethal and sophisticated insurgent group targeting U.S., Coalition, and Afghan forces,'' according to the U.S. National Counterterrorism Center.
The database, which includes fingerprints, iris scans and other biographical data, was housed in a whitewashed building at the Ministry of Interior in Kabul.
''The centerpiece of the program is the Afghan Automated Biometric Identification System (AABIS), administered by about 50 Afghans at the Ministry of Interior in Kabul,'' according to a 2011 FBI news release.
The abrupt departure of U.S. forces in Afghanistan has provided the opportunity for Haqqani's network to move very quickly in its efforts. ''We are not collecting new data — we already have it,'' Haqqani said. ''The group [Al Isha] just keeps an eye that if someone has worked for America or the National Directorate of Security [the former Afghan government's intelligence agency].''
It has also been reported that the U.S. has separately provided the Taliban with a list of Americans and Afghans it wants to evacuate from the country, a move one defense official told Politico was ''just put[ing] all those Afghans on a kill list.''
The U.S. State and Defense departments have not responded directly to requests for comment on these reports. A Pentagon spokesman, Lt. Col. Anton Semelroth, said he would forward requests to ''the right folks'' but did not provide answers to media outlets.
State Department press officer Nicole Thompson said the questions were ''being worked'' inside the agency but also didn't provide a response. White House deputy press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre did not respond to multiple requests for comment.