Joe Biden blamed as Taliban gets 'Kill List' of Afghan allies
A Republican congressman revealed that the Taliban has obtained the biometric data of thousands of Afghan allies who helped the United States, adding that President Joe Biden will be responsible for the deaths of thousands of Afghan allies if the data is used to hunt them down.
Biden was attacked on Tuesday, August 24, by Indiana Rep Jim Banks over billions of dollars worth of weaponry and military equipment left behind in Afghanistan after US troops abruptly withdrew from the war-torn nation. Banks, a Navy reservist who served in Afghanistan in 2014 and 2015 while still a state senator, told a press conference on Capitol Hill that the Taliban had got its hands on the cache of arms left behind, citing a series of intelligence briefings.
The congressman added that the most "unfathomable to me and so many others" was that the extremist group could gain access to the sensitive biometric database, which was stored on Handheld Interagency Identity Detection Equipment (HIIDE) devices to help ID locals who helped US efforts.
"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," Banks said. "This administration still has no plan to get this equipment or these supplies back."
The Indiana Republican said Biden would have "blood on his hands" should the Taliban use the database to hunt down local allies. The revelations were also corroborated in a report by The Intercept, which detailed how the biometric devices work.
A Joint Special Operations Command official and three former US military personnel reportedly told the outlet that the Taliban had obtained the HIIDE devices, which contained identification data such as iris scans, fingerprints, biographical information, and are used to access large centralized databases. The sources said it was unclear how many Afghans are on the database, or whether the Taliban has figured out how to access the information.
An Army Special Operations veteran told the outlet that the militants may not be able to operate the devices. However, he noted that the Pakistani intelligence service, the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), which is known to work with the Taliban, would have the skills to access the data. "The Taliban doesn't have the gear to use the data but the ISI do," the veteran insisted.
Speaking to NPR in January, author Annie Jacobson, who wrote a book about the Pentagon's data collection, said that the Department of Defense wanted to catalog millions of people but it was unclear whether they managed to do so. "The original goal by the Defense Department was to capture biometrics on 80 percent of the population of Afghanistan," she said. "Approximately 25 million people was the goal. It's unknown [if they reached it] because these statistics are jealously guarded by the Defense Department and they're not available from the government of Afghanistan."
Meanwhile, a US military contractor has told The Intercept that they "processed thousands of locals a day - had to ID, sweep for suicide vests, weapons, intel gathering, etc. [HIIDE] was used as a biometric ID tool to help ID locals working for the coalition."
#Taliban form new unit— EHA News (@eha_news) August 24, 2021
▪️After Badri 313 units, Taliban have formed a new unit called Victory Force.
▪️New units, deployed in #Kabul, have set up checkpoints and patrol the city. pic.twitter.com/XoAi5daVEa
According to congressman Banks, owing to the "negligence of this administration," the Taliban had seized more than "75,000 vehicles, over 200 airplanes, and helicopters, over 600,000 small arms and light weapons, night-vision goggles, and body armor."
He added that the terror group now had "more Black Hawk helicopters than 85 percent of countries in the world."