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Taliban kill squad hunting Afghans — with America’s biometric data

The Taliban has mobilized a unique device, identified as Al Isha, to hunt down Afghans who helped US and allied forces — and it is applying US tools and details to do it.

Nawazuddin Haqqani, a single of the brigade commanders over the Al Isha unit, bragged in an interview with Zenger Information that his device is working with US-designed hand-held scanners to faucet into a huge US-crafted biometric databases and positively recognize any particular person who aided the NATO allies or worked with Indian intelligence. Afghans who attempt to deny or reduce their part will uncover themselves contradicted by the detailed laptop records that the US remaining guiding in its frenzied withdrawal.

The existence of the Al Isha device has not been earlier verified by the Taliban right up until now the Haqqani Community, a terror team aligned with the Taliban, has not admitted its purpose in targeting Afghans or its use of America’s large biometric databases.

The Haqqani Community is “the most lethal and subtle insurgent group targeting US, Coalition, and Afghan forces,” according to the US National Counterterrorism Middle.

The US independently has offered the Taliban with a record of Americans and Afghans it desires to evacuate from the country, a transfer just one protection official advised Politico was “just set[ing] all these Afghans on a destroy record.”

The Taliban specific unit, Al Isha, is employing American info to hunt down Afghans who helped US and allied forces.
John Moore/Getty Photographs

But the electricity and access of the US biometric databases is a lot bigger and a lot more in depth. Nearly absolutely everyone who labored with the Afghan govt or the US armed forces, together with interpreters, motorists, nurses, and secretaries, was fingerprinted and scanned for the biometric databases in excess of the previous 12 several years.

US officials have not verified how lots of of the 7,000 hand-held scanners ended up remaining at the rear of or no matter if the biometric database could be remotely deleted. The US Condition and Defense departments acknowledged receipt of queries from Zenger for this tale on Tuesday. Pentagon spokesman Lt. Col. Anton Semelroth mentioned he would forward them to “the ideal folks” but did not provide solutions by push time. Point out Section push officer Nicole Thompson mentioned the issues were “being worked” inside of the agency but also didn’t give a reaction. White House Deputy Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre did not reply to several requests for comment.

The database being utilized by the Taliban includes fingerprints, iris scans, and other biographical information.
The databases getting used by the Taliban features fingerprints, iris scans, and other biographical data.
Tauseef Mustafa/AFP via Getty Illustrations or photos

“Now that Kabul is taken, operational do the job has taken a back seat and we’ve turned our emphasis on counterintelligence,” Nawazuddin Haqqani instructed Zenger in a mobile phone conversation on Saturday. “While most of the brigade is now resting in various madrassas [Islamic religious schools], the Al Isha team is now the principal company managing this [biometric] knowledge undertaking.”

“We’re in regulate of the Interior Ministry and the nationwide biometric databases they retained. We have everyone’s facts with us now — together with journalists and so-known as human legal rights folks. We have not killed a one international journalist, have we? We aren’t arresting the people of these individuals [who are on the blacklist] either,” he claimed.

“But American, NDS [Afghanistan’s National Directorate of Security] and RAW’s [India’s Research and Analysis Wing] puppets will not be permit off. They will generally be viewed by Al Isha. Those people who ended up barking about possessing US dollars in their pockets until a few days back again — they will not be spared. They just cannot be spared, can they?”

The database can also be used to find any person who worked with British, European or Indian intelligence services.
The databases can also be used to obtain any human being who labored with British, European or Indian intelligence expert services.
John Moore/Getty Pictures

The database, which incorporates fingerprints, iris scans, and other biographical details, was housed in a white-washed making at the Ministry of Interior in Kabul. “The centerpiece of the program is the Afghan Automated Biometric Identification Technique (AABIS), administered by about 50 Afghans at the Ministry of Inside in Kabul,” according to a 2011 FBI information launch. The US Army issued an official “Commander’s Tutorial to Biometrics In Afghanistan” manual in 2011.

The U.S. begun with information from some 300,000 Afghans in 2009, predominantly prisoners and Afghan troopers in accordance to NATO, and the biometrics heart opened in November 2010. US officials aimed to compile details on as quite a few as 25 million Afghans, roughly 80 p.c of the population, Annie Jacobsen, author of “First Platoon: A Tale of Contemporary War in The Age of Identity Dominance” (Penguin, 2020), advised National Community Radio past calendar year. The correct amount of Afghans coated by the database stays labeled.

At initially, the US hoped to use the biometric database to spot Taliban infiltrators or capture the makers of roadside bombs, which experienced claimed the life of hundreds of American and allied sources because 2001. Later, it developed into a way to discover virtually every single Afghan that US forces employed or frequented. By 2014, the US Army was contacting its strategy “identity dominance.”

Now that identity dominance belongs to the Taliban.

“We are not accumulating new info — we already have it,” reported Nawazuddin Haqqani. “The group [Al Isha] just retains an eye that if another person has labored for America or the Countrywide Directorate of Safety [the former Afghan government’s intelligence agency].”

The database is also applied to uncover any human being who worked with British, European or Indian intelligence expert services, he said. “The matter is getting blown out of proportion by the overseas media and its absolutely nothing far more than a campaign to malign us,” he stated. He contended that the database was applied to spare the life of overseas journalists.

The Al Isha unit has a lot more than doubled in dimensions, from 500 to practically 1,100 over the previous thirty day period, he instructed Zenger, and distribute out into a lot of of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces.

Requested about studies that Pakistani intelligence officers have been supervising the Al Isha unit’s use of biometric information to interrogate former U.S. allies, Nawazuddin Haqqani did not deny the Pakistan connection.

“You are not that naive — you know the reply to that,” he claimed. “But what I can say is, it is not needed to practice all people in Pakistan. The Emirs [local Taliban chieftains] are quite capable of training the foot troopers to cope with the machines.”

This implies Pakistan’s spy company, the Inter-Solutions Intelligence or ISI, has obtain to America’s biometric databases. If Al Isha can determine Indian intelligence resources in Afghanistan, the Pakistanis will go after them as very well.

Questioned about aspects of the facts assortment, he refused to answer and claimed: “This is a question which [Taliban political spokesperson Suhail] Shaheen must respond to.”

Shaheen declined to comment on the existence of Al Isha, the presence of Pakistani intelligence officers and the use of U.S.-produced biometric technologies in Afghanistan.

Nawazuddin Haqqani unveiled the heritage and command framework of the Al Isha unit. “The Al Isha isn’t a new detail. It’s a person of the 3 teams beneath the Khalil Haqqani Brigade,” he claimed.

The brigade is a armed service device of extra than 2,000 fighters that is named soon after Khalil Haqqani, who has a $5 million bounty on his head and sales opportunities the Badri 313 unit, which lately mocked the iconic photograph of U.S. Marines increasing an American flag on Iwo Jima.

Khalil Haqqani is the brother of the late Jalaluddin Haqqani, who mentored Osama Bin Laden and later on served as a cabinet minister for the Taliban in the 1990s.

Nawazuddin Haqqani is a member of the Haqqani clan whom Khalil individually set in demand of counterintelligence operations in Kabul. In numerous techniques, Nawazuddin is taken care of as Khalil’s son. But their specific family members romance is debated among western intelligence analysts and is a sensitive matter that Taliban and Haqqani sources refuse to remark on.

In a different part of Kabul, a 26-year-previous previous Afghan Nationwide Army corps commander was achieved on his cellular telephone on Aug. 16, hrs soon after the Taliban seized the city.

“Well, I have achieved household safely and am with my mom and dad, spouse and kid,” he claimed. “But I really do not feel I will be listed here for extended. They’re going door to doorway and scanning everybody with biometric scanners, and they’ll knock on my doorways anytime now.”

Requested if he was referring to the Taliban, his terms were being exact: “The Al Isha basically.” The corps commander, who questioned that his identify be withheld due to the fact Al Isha is actively hunting him, claims he is in the biometric databases mainly because of his volunteer function as a media coordinator with an Afghan nonprofit firm.

“The Afghan Taliban are incapable of dealing with the biometric machines or the database” he said. “Every look for social gathering is overseen by a Pakistani officer or a member of the Haqqani Community.”

The previous corps commander’s phone has since absent dead.

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