Taliban extremists have seized sophisticated U.S. military biometric technology that could aid them in identifying Afghan nationals that assisted U.S. efforts in the nation over the past 20 years, which would put those individuals’ lives in immediate danger.
“The devices, known as HIIDE, for Handheld Interagency Identity Detection Equipment, were seized last week during the Taliban’s offensive,” The Intercept reported, adding that sources in the U.S. Armed Forces were “worried that sensitive data they contain could be used by the Taliban.”
“HIIDE devices contain identifying biometric data such as iris scans and fingerprints, as well as biographical information, and are used to access large centralized databases,” the report added. “An Army Special Operations veteran said it’s possible that the Taliban may need additional tools to process the HIIDE data but expressed concerns that Pakistan would assist with this.”
The news comes amid the chaos that erupted over the last week following Democrat President Joe Biden’s disastrous pullout from Afghanistan, which has left thousands of American citizens trapped in enemy controlled territory.
Rep. Andy Kim’s (D-NY) office said in an email that journalists posted online that the Biden administration destroyed the passports of Afghan SIV applicants at the Embassy.
“For SIV applicants: Visa and passport appointments at the Embassy have been canceled, and passports that were in the Embassy have been canceled, and passports that were in the Embassy’s possession have been destroyed,” the email stated. “Department of State advises all people waiting for processing to find shelter and wait for further instructions. They should not go to the airport until they are called to do so and should follow the instructions carefully.”
According to @AndyKimNJ’s congressional office, Afghan passports that were submitted to the US embassy for visa processing have been destroyed. (Remember all that sensitive document burning? H/t to @kgilsinan for the info) pic.twitter.com/KneVItxVVb
— Julia Ioffe (@juliaioffe) August 17, 2021
Reuters reported that “Biden was concerned about the political impact of the large number of Afghan refugees flowing into the United States and preferred they be sent to third countries.” Biden’s concern about the political toll that refugees could have on his administration comes after he has overseen a border catastrophe that has worsened every month under his leadership.
The Atlantic published a brutal report slamming Biden for the situation regarding the Afghan refugees:
- “There’s plenty of blame to go around for the 20-year debacle in Afghanistan—enough to fill a library of books. Perhaps the effort to rebuild the country was doomed from the start. But our abandonment of the Afghans who helped us, counted on us, staked their lives on us, is a final, gratuitous shame that we could have avoided. The Biden administration failed to heed the warnings on Afghanistan, failed to act with urgency—and its failure has left tens of thousands of Afghans to a terrible fate. This betrayal will live in infamy. The burden of shame falls on President Joe Biden.”
- “All of this was foreseeable—all of it was foreseen. For months, members of Congress and advocates in refugee, veteran, and human-rights organizations have been urging the Biden administration to evacuate America’s Afghan allies on an emergency basis.”
- “While some officials in the State Department, the Pentagon, and the White House itself pushed quietly for more urgent measures that might have averted catastrophe, Biden resisted—as if he wouldn’t allow Afghanistan to interfere with his priorities, as if he were done with Afghanistan the minute he announced the withdrawal of all remaining U.S. forces. This hardness is perplexing in a president who spent years in the Senate working on behalf of genocide victims and war refugees; who once promised an Afghan schoolgirl that he would make sure the U.S. didn’t abandon her; who cares intensely about the welfare of American troops.”