The New York Post:
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.
The US separately has 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.”
But the power and reach of the US biometric database is much larger and more comprehensive. Virtually everyone who worked with the Afghan government or the US military, including interpreters, drivers, nurses, and secretaries, was fingerprinted and scanned for the biometric database over the past 12 years.
US 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 US State and Defense departments acknowledged receipt of questions from Zenger for this story on Tuesday. Pentagon spokesman Lt. Col. Anton Semelroth said he would forward them to “the right folks” but did not provide answers by press time.
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.