The Taliban have wrecked havoc in Afghanistan since 2017 when both, Taliban and the late US president Trump, signed a peace treaty together. Recently the Taliban have got access to biometric devices used by the US military which can help them find Afghan nationals who have been working with the US led-government in Afghanistan.
The peace treaty signed between US President Trump and the Taliban clearly stated that the US would withdraw some of its forces from Afghanistan if the Taliban maintained peace and order in the country. The US agreed to release 5,000 Taliban prisoners, while the Taliban agreed to take steps to prevent any group or individual, including al Qaeda, from using Afghanistan to threaten the security of the US or its allies.
Even after the agreement, the Taliban continued to exploit Afghanistan. Taliban militants seized much of the country following the withdrawal of US troops beginning in early July. The president of Afghanistan fled this Sunday leaving the president’s chair empty. This motivated the Taliban to carry out a full-fledged attack on the country.
Now the Taliban have taken control over the biometric devices used by the US government which can easily give them the information of the Afghan nationals who have helped and worked with the US-led Afghan government.
This biometric device is called HIIDE which stands for Handheld Interagency Identity Detection Equipment. This device was seized by the Taliban during their takeover of Kabul the capital of Afghanistan. Earlier the Taliban overtook Kabul in 1996 but the US army defeated the Taliban and freed Kabul from their clutches.
After confirming with officials it was found that the biometric devices contained information about the Afghan nationals’ iris scans, fingerprints, and some of their biographical information including name, address, date of birth, etc. These biometric devices can easily help the Talians access certain broad centralized databases that only the US Afghans have access to. Sensitive information stored in the databases can be misused by the Taliban against the US Afghans and the US-led Afghanistan government.
A U.S. military contractor talked about the biometric devices stating that they needed them to scan individuals, look at their ID and see if they were part of the Afghan nationals or an imposter. They used to check for suicide vests which is an explosive belt with an improvised explosive device, a belt, or a vest packed with explosives and armed with a detonator, worn by suicide bombers. They also required them for intel gatherings. The contractor explained that they needed these biometric devices to help locals who worked on the coalition.
These devices were primarily used to gather information about the Afghan citizens who made up 80% of the Afghan population which is approximately 25 million people. But this device was also helpful to identify imposters. The device played a key role in identifying Osama Bin Laden in a raid on his Pakistani compound.
The US military troops have been using such devices for ages and they have always helped the US troops to identify people. A total of 300,000 Afghan citizens are part of this American coalition where their ultimate goal is to drive out Taliban forces once and for all. After the attack by the Taliban in Afghanistan a total of 2000 Afghan civilians were sent to the US but many weren’t able to go due to special immigrant visas necessary to leave Afghanistan for the US.
Many Afghans who have helped the US government translate data and interpret it are still believed to be residing in Afghanistan and possess a threat to their life as well as their family’s life. It is expected from the United Nations to take appropriate steps to protect each and every family and civilian in Afghanistan.