Days after the Taliban took over the reins of Afghanistan, it has now come to light that the United States and the United Kingdom have left their allies in Afghanistan vulnerable to attack by the radical Islamist outfit.
As per an exclusive report by Politico, the Biden administration had handed out a list of American citizens, Afghan allies, and green card holders to the Taliban so as to allow their evacuation from the Hamid Karzai International airport in Kabul. Although the US officials had claimed that the objective behind the decision was to evacuate stranded people as fast as possible, they faced sharp criticism from military officials and lawmakers. Politico reported that US President Joe Biden had been relying on the radical Islamist outfit for the security of its citizens and allies.
Despite being well aware that the Taliban has a history of killing US allies, the decision to provide specific names to the Islamist outfit by the Biden administration has put their life in jeopardy. “Basically, they just put all those Afghans on a kill list… It’s just appalling and shocking and makes you feel unclean,” remarked a US defence official anonymously. During a news conference on Thursday (August 26), President Biden reacted to the revelations made by Politico and did not deny the fact that the US had handed names of ‘vulnerable individuals’ to the Taliban.
After the takeover of Kabul by the Taliban following the collapse of Afghan security forces, the Taliban had put up roadblocks across the city. As both foreigners and locals rushed to the Hamid Karzai International Airport to leave the country, they had to cross these roadblocks. To ensure smooth movement of US citizens and Afghan allies, the US administration had handed over the list of people going to the airport, so that the Taliban can allow them to go ahead. Even though the intention was good, this also meant that the Taliban now has the list of all the Afghans who had worked with the NATO forces.
Taliban has access to biometric information of Afghan allies
Not just the lists, the Taliban reportedly also have biometric data of all Afghans who had worked with US and NATO forces. After the capture of Afghanistan, a large number of biometric devices, along with weapons, vehicles and ammunition left behind by American and fleeing Afghan forces were captured by the Taliban. With the US-built military devices, the Taliban now potentiall have the access to the biometric database of Afghans. Some devices also store local copies for such databases, which will be easily accessible to the new tech-savvy Taliban.
Even though the Taliban may not have the tools and expertise to process the data they have access to now, the ISI of Pakistan has. This means that the Talibani regime can easily process the data with the help of their allies.
Republican Congressman and former Afghan veteran Jim Banks informed, “We now know that due to the negligence of this administration, the Taliban has access to $85 billion worth of American military equipment. That includes 75,000 vehicles, over 200 airplanes, and helicopters, over 600,000 small arms, and light weapons. The Taliban now has more black hawk helicopters than 85% of the countries in the world.”
And if that sounds angry, it is. I’m angry at the betrayal of the Afghan people. I’m angry for those terps who can’t escape, facing an awful fate. I’m angry for those marines who died today in this totally avoidable shitshow.— Andrew Fox (@maj_retd_fox) August 26, 2021
Damned right I’m angry. You should be angry too.
“They just don’t have weapons. They also have night-vision goggles, body armour, medical supplies…The Taliban now has biometric devices which have the fingerprints, eye scans, and the biographical information of the Afghans who helped us over the last 20 years…This administration has no plans to get the military equipment and supplies back,” he concluded.
Biden administration did not deny revealing names to the Taliban
“There have been occasions when our military has contacted their military counterparts in the Taliban and said this, for example, this bus is coming through with X number of people on it, made up of the following group of people. We want you to let that bus or that group through. So, yes there have been occasions like that. To the best of my knowledge, in those cases, the bulk of that has occurred and they have been let through. I can’t tell you with any certitude that there’s actually been a list of names. There may have been. But I know of no circumstance. It doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist, that here’s the names of 12 people, they’re coming, let them through. It could very well have happened,” the US President said in a statement.
Besides Joe Biden, National Security Council (NSC) spokesperson Emily Horne also conceded that the US officials had shared information with the Taliban in ‘limited cases’ for facilitating their ‘successful evacuation’ from Kabul. The matter came to light during a ‘classified briefing’ in US Capitol Hill, wherein top officials contended that they had been coordinating with the Taliban for keeping the ‘Americans and Afghans safe.’ They claimed that the objective was also to prevent a shoutout between the US forces and the Talibs at the Hamid Karzai International airport.
Taliban going door-to-door in search of Afghan interpreters
Among the list of names handed over to the Taliban, it included Afghan allies who collaborated with the United States during the 20-year-long ‘war on terror’. While speaking about the matter, a US official admitted, “They had to do that because of the security situation the White House created by allowing the Taliban to control everything outside the airport.” Politico reported that once the security situation at the Kabul airport worsened due to the overwhelming rush of people, the US government requested everyone to wait for their turn.
From that point onwards, the Biden administration stopped feeding the names of Afghan allies to the Taliban. From August 25 onwards, the US government began evacuating only US passport and green cardholders. Earlier this week, Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby contended that the US officials were ‘in daily communication with the Talibs. Politico reported that The Taliban is now going door-to-door in search of Afghan interpreters and US allies, after the Biden administration ‘outsourced’ the security to the Taliban.
Suicide bombing by ISKP at Kabul airport kills stranded Afghans
On Thursday, August 26, bomb blasts inside Hamid Karzai international airport in Afghan’s capital Kabul killed more than 100 people, including 13 US troops, disrupting the ongoing Afghan evacuation of tens of thousands of stranded civilians. Soon after the attacks on their forces, the United States officials attributed attacks that killed more than 100 people at the Kabul airport to Islamic State’s regional affiliate Islamic State Khorasan Province (ISKP). The ISKP has also taken responsibility for the bombing of the Kabul airport and has released images of the terrorist who blew himself up inside the Kabul airport. Abdul Rehman Al-Loghri of the ISKP was allegedly the suicide bomber.