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Sensitive US army data in Taliban hands, lives of Afghan locals who helped during war in danger: Report

Speed News Desk | Updated on: 19 August 2021, 10:22 IST

The Taliban have captured the US military's biometric devices compromising crucial data of the US army and the local Afghans who played crucial roles during the war, a media report said on Wednesday.

Crucial information in Taliban hands
The devices, known as HIIDE, for Handheld Interagency Identity Detection Equipment, were seized last week during the Taliban's offensive, according to a Joint Special Operations Command official and three former US military personnel, all of whom worried that sensitive data they contain could be used by the Taliban, America's The Intercept reported.

Why is this sensitive?
These devices contain iris scans, fingerprints, and biological information. These data are used to access larger databases. However, it remains unclear that how much data has been compromised. These devices also contain biometric data of those Afghans who helped the US during the war.

Taliban can identify locals who helped the US
Now, the Taliban might use these data to identify and target innocent Afghans. "We processed thousands of locals a day, had to ID, sweep for suicide vests, weapons, intel gathering, etc." a U.S. military contractor explained. "(HIIDE) was used as a biometric ID tool to help ID locals working for the coalition," The Intercept quoted an unnamed US official as saying.

US weapons captured from Afghan forces
White House believes that the Taliban won't return US weapons that it captured from Afghan forces, National Security Advisor (NSA) Jake Sullivan said on Tuesday. Sullivan added that the Biden administration believes that a "fair amount" of the weapons that the US gave to Afghanistan are in the possession of the Taliban, and they don't expect they will be returned to the US. "We don't have a complete picture, obviously, of where every article of defence materials has gone but certainly, a fair amount of it has fallen into the hands of the Taliban, and obviously, we don't have a sense that they are going to readily hand it over to us at the airport," he added. The terror group took control over Afghanistan on Sunday after entering the presidential palace in Kabul. The Taliban leaders are discussing future government plans in Doha and are in touch with the international community and intra-Afghan parties to make government in Afghanistan. The world is closely watching the unfolding situation in Afghanistan as the countries have scrambled to evacuate its citizen from Afghanistan in an attempt to secure their people.

( With inputs from ANI)

First published: 19 August 2021, 7:38 IST