U.S. adversaries could exploit former Afghan commandos – U.S. Republican report

By Jonathan Lande

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Former Afghan security personnel with sensitive information on U.S. operations left behind by the U.S. deportation operation are vulnerable to recruitment or coercion by Russia, China and Iran, Republican lawmakers said on Sunday, a priority President Joe Biden’s administration has failed to prioritize. taking them out.

“This is particularly true given reports that some former Afghan military personnel have fled to Iran,” said a report by the Republican minority of the US House Foreign Affairs Committee on the first anniversary of the Taliban’s capture of Kabul.

The Biden administration failed to prioritize the withdrawal of US-trained Afghan commandos and other elite units from the August 14-30, 2021, withdrawal and evacuation operation by US forces at Kabul International Airport.

Thirteen American soldiers died during the operation, and hundreds of American civilians and thousands of Afghans were left behind at risk.

The administration is calling the operation an “extraordinary success” that saw more than 124,000 Americans and Afghans fly to safety and an “endless” battle that left nearly 3,500 US and allied troops and hundreds of thousands of Afghans dead.

But hundreds of US-trained commandos and other former security personnel and their families remain in Afghanistan amid reports that the Taliban are killing and torturing former Afghan officials, a charge the militants deny.

Those former employees “could be recruited or coerced to work for one of America’s adversaries that maintain a presence in Afghanistan, including Russia, China or Iran,” the Republican report said.

He called that possibility a “major national security threat” because the Afghans “know the tactics, techniques, and procedures of the U.S. military and intelligence community.”

Some US officials and experts say Biden has tried to move on from Afghanistan without properly assessing the lessons of the war and taking responsibility for the messy evacuation.

The Republican report added new details of the extraction operation, including congressional testimony and military and news reports to show how the administration overstepped the advice of US commanders, failed to adequately plan and ignored Taliban violations of the 2020 pullout agreement.

Another finding, it said, was that the administration waited until hours before the Taliban took over Kabul to make a key evacuation decision.

Asking other countries to host transit centers for thousands of Afghan refugees who worked for the U.S. government during 20 years of U.S. intervention and others risk retaliation from the Taliban, the report said.

“The Taliban had made little preparation to take over the country or to withdraw from it,” it said.

(Reporting by Jonathan Lande; Editing by David Gregorio)

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