FLASH UPDATE: The New York Post Confirms Taliban kill squad hunting down Afghans — using US biometric data
The Taliban has mobilized a special unit, called Al Isha, to hunt down Afghans who helped US and allied forces — and it’s using US equipment and data to do it.
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 Haqqani Network is “the most lethal and sophisticated insurgent group targeting US, Coalition, and Afghan forces,” according to the US National Counterterrorism Center. Read full story at https://nypost.com/2021/08/27/taliban-kill-squad-hunting-afghans-with-americas-biometric-data/
In an exclusive interview with ABC News' George Stephanopoulos, President Joe Biden said the U.S. is committed to getting every American out of Afghanistan -- even if it means
potentially extending the mission beyond his Aug. 31 deadline for a total withdrawal.
"We've got like 10 to 15,000 Americans in the country right now. Right? And are you committed to making sure that the troops stay until every American who wants to be out is out?" Stephanopoulos asked Biden.
"Yes," Biden replied.
Biden went on to tell Stephanopoulos that in addition to the 10,000 to 15,000 Americans who need to be evacuated, there are between 50,000 and 65,000 Afghans and their families the U.S. also wants to get out. (See our article on why Biden has no choice but to leave by August 31 through this link.)
However, nothing communicates Joe Biden’s real plans for the unknown number of Americans still stranded in Afghanistan and the tens of thousands of Afghanis who worked and fought for America than this exclusive CHQ report from inside Kabul airport: the gates to the airport have been welded shut.
And numerous sources have reported the Taliban have blocked the road to the airport and are turning away any Afghan who tries to go to the airport to report for an evacuation flight, so we all know where this is headed.
A week ago, Matthew Rosenberg reported the Taliban were already exacting revenge on the key Afghan allies of the United States. Accounts of the Taliban searching for people they believe worked with and fought alongside U.S. and NATO forces are beginning to trickle out, offering a bloody counterpoint to the kinder and gentler face the militants have been trying to present to the world.
Mr. Rosenberg also reported the Taliban are threatening to arrest or punish family members if they cannot find the people they are seeking, according to former Afghan officials, a confidential report prepared for the United Nations, and American veterans who have been contacted by desperate Afghans who served alongside them. Most spoke on condition of anonymity to protect friends and loved ones still hiding in Afghanistan.
The officials said the Taliban had been combing through records at the ministry of defense and interior and the headquarters of Afghanistan’s spy service, drawing up lists of operatives to search for. And there are more and more reports that the militants are exacting swift and fatal revenge when they are found.
U.S. officials in Kabul gave the Taliban a list of names of American citizens, green card holders and Afghan allies to grant entry into the militant-controlled outer perimeter of the city’s airport, a choice that's prompted outrage behind the scenes from lawmakers and military officials.
The move, detailed to POLITICO by three U.S. and congressional officials, was designed to expedite the evacuation of tens of thousands of people from Afghanistan as chaos erupted in Afghanistan’s capital city last week after the Taliban seized control of the country. It also came as the Biden administration has been relying on the Taliban for security outside the airport.
But the decision to provide specific names to the Taliban, which has a history of brutally murdering Afghans who collaborated with the U.S. and other coalition forces during the conflict, has angered lawmakers and military officials.
“Basically, they just put all those Afghans on a kill list,” said one defense official, who like others spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss a sensitive topic. “It’s just appalling and shocking and makes you feel unclean.”
A spokesperson for U.S. Central Command declined to comment.
What’s more, Biden’s estimate of the number of Afghans at risk for helping America is ludicrously low.
The New York Times reported yesterday that at least 250,000 Afghans who may be eligible for expedited American visas remain in Afghanistan, far too many for American forces to rescue before their deadline to leave next week, new estimates suggest.
Even if American forces continue their current pace of roughly 20,000 evacuations per day — a tall order — the estimates suggest the effort will not come close to rescuing the full group of Afghans who may be eligible to leave before President Biden’s deadline to depart, Aug. 31.
These estimates are based on reports on Afghan employment published annually by the Department of Defense and analyzed by the Association of Wartime Allies, a group that advocates for Afghans affiliated with the U.S., and researchers at American University. Other estimates vary widely, from 100,000 to more than 300,000 people, reported the New York Times.
The group estimated that the number could be far higher, depending on the assumptions used: More than a million Afghans who remain in the country, it found, could be eligible for expedited immigration status.
Setting aside question of whether such an operation would be advisable due to the problems of vetting such an enormous group of refugees, the likelihood of evacuating 1 million Afghanis in the face of Taliban opposition is less than zero, even if there was American public support for such an operation.
According to the Biden administration the U.S. military has helped secure the evacuation of 58,000 people since Aug. 14, when Kabul fell to the Taliban, and has increased the pace recently. About 21,600 people were evacuated in the past 24 hours, military officials said on Tuesday.
However, the Biden administration has been unable to pinpoint how many people are in need of evacuation.
Actions speak louder than words, and Joe Biden’s actions demonstrate he never had any intention of evacuating the key Afghans who fought at our side – the interpreters, commandos, intelligence operatives and especially the women are, and were always planned to be, on their own.
August 31 deadline
Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR)
National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan
Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley
Secretary of State Anthony Blinken
CIA Director William J. Burns