India Today Web Desk

August 29, 2021

-India Today


American, NDS [Afghanistan’s National Directorate of Security] and RAW’s [India’s Research and Analysis Wing] puppets won’t be let off. They will always be watched by Al Isha,” Nawazuddin Haqqani, one of the brigade commanders of the Taliban’s Al Nisha unit – that is using US data to hunt down Afghans that help the US and Nato allies, said.

In an exclusive interview with Zenger News, Nawazuddin Haqqani said the unit is using US-made hand-scanners and using its database to crack down on Afghans that helped allied forces or worked with Indian intelligence.

The database going into the hands of the Taliban is significant because virtually every Afghan that worked with the previous government or with the US forces as interpreters, drivers, nurses, and secretaries were scanned for the biometric database over the last 12 years.

There were a total of 7,000 hand-held scanners and the US has not yet confirmed how many have been left behind.

“Now that Kabul is taken, operational work has taken a back seat and we’ve turned our focus on counterintelligence, While most of the brigade is now resting in different madrassas [Islamic religious schools], the Al Isha group is now the principal agency handling this [biometric] data project,” Nawazuddin Haqqani told Zenger News.

The US database includes fingerprints, iris scans among other data and was housed in the Ministry of Interior in Kabul.

The US started collecting data from about 3,00,000 Afghans in 2009 – from mostly Afghan prisoners and Afghan soldiers. In 2010, the biometrics centre was opened.

The database was started to spot Taliban infiltrators or those involved in making roadside bombs. By 2014, the US started calling it “identity dominance”.

Now that the database is in the hands of the Taliban, Nawazuddin Haqqani said, “The group [Al Isha] just keeps an eye that if someone has worked for America or the National Directorate of Security [the former Afghan government’s intelligence agency]. The matter [data collection and making of the list] is being blown out of proportion by the foreign media and its nothing more than a campaign to malign us.”

The Al Isha unit has over 1,000 members and is spread over 34 provinces in Afghanistan.

When asked about Pakistan’s involvement in the Al Isha unit, Nawazuddin Haqqani said if any Indian intelligence is identified by the unit in Afghanistan, Pakistan could pursue it.

Nawazuddin Haqqani said the Al Isha isn’t a new unit. It is one of the three groups under the Khalil Haqqani Brigade. The Khalil Haqqani Brigade is a 2,000-member strong brigade named under Khalil Haqqani who has a $5 million bounty on his head and leads the Badri 313 unit.

Khalil Haqqani is the brother of ate Jalaluddin Haqqani, who mentored Osama bin Laden and also served as a cabinet minister for the Taliban in the 1990s.

Nawazuddin Haqqani was personally put in charge of counterintelligence operations in Kabul by Khalil Haqqani.

“The Afghan Taliban are incapable of handling the biometric equipment or the database. Every search party is overseen by a Pakistani officer or a member of the Haqqani Network,” said a 26-year-old former Afghan National Army corps commander. He also confirmed the Al Isha unit is scanning everyone with the biometric scanners.