I am not sure how much U.S. newspapers have been covering Afghanistan lately. I see that there is no reference to events there on the front page of today’s New York Times or my home town newspaper, the Star Tribune. The Times is back to waging its non-stop war against Republicans: “G.O.P. Seethes at Biden Mandate, Even in States Requiring Other Vaccines;” “False Election Claims in California Reveal a New Normal for G.O.P.;” “The Texas Abortion Law Creates a Kind of Bounty Hunter. Here’s How It Works.” And so on.
But the European press is a little more forthcoming and perhaps less inclined to defer to Joe Biden’s desire to change the subject. This is from the London Times: “Taliban death squads hunt anti-terror units.”
Taliban death squads have hunted down and killed at least four elite Afghan counterterrorism agents in the past three weeks, in one case pulling out all the victim’s fingernails before shooting him.
All four men were member of Units 011 and 041, British and American-trained units responsible for finding and interrogating Taliban, and based at the headquarters of the Afghan intelligence service, the National Directorate of Security (NDS).
We are supposed to believe that this is the kinder, gentler Taliban, our partner in organizing Biden’s skedaddle and the beneficiary of $90 billion or more in military largesse. That is almost twice as much as total foreign aid, mostly civilian in addition to military, that we dole out in an average year to all countries combined.
The Sunday Times has also learnt from a senior manager working at the NDS headquarters who returned to work last week when called by the Taliban, that all the laptops and paperwork had gone from the offices — as well as money to pay last month’s wages.
The man, a former interpreter for British forces in Helmand, showed an appreciation certificate for his work in Operation Herrick 9 in 2008 and an email approving him for evacuation, but said he had been unable to get through the airport in the chaos last month. “I waited until 3.30 am at the gate with my wife and four children, before deciding it was too dangerous and difficult,” he said.
I think there are a lot of people like this, who helped the U.S. and our allies at considerable risk to themselves and should have been prioritized in the evacuation of Afghanistan, but who were left behind in the chaos of Joe Biden’s disastrous withdrawal. More than 100,000 Afghans were airlifted out, but my sense is that they were often random beneficiaries of chance, and that many of those most deserving of evacuation were stranded along with an unknown number of American citizens.
He claimed that Taliban are using the information they seized from NDS and calling those on the list, pretending to be British embassy officials to locate them.
“I got an unidentified call on Monday in Dari [the Afghan language] saying they were from the embassy and checking my address and family members. I gave the details then realised the embassy was closed. I emailed the embassy to check but a message came back saying this address no longer exists.”
Terrified, he fled into hiding, moving every couple of days and warning other former British interpreters to not hand over information.
No doubt most Americans would rather not know the gory details of the consequences of Joe Biden’s incompetence, but it is perhaps our duty to remind them now and again. We get complacent because a hard day, for us, involves being attacked on social media. Our fingernails are pretty much all intact.