US adversaries could exploit former Afghan commandos: Report

WASHINGTON: Former Afghan security personnel with sensitive knowledge of US operations left behind by the American evacuation operation are vulnerable to recruitment or coercion by Russia, China and Iran, Republican lawmakers said on Sunday (Aug 14), noting that President Joe Biden’s administration failed to prioritise evacuating them.

“This is especially true given reports that some former Afghan military personnel have fled to Iran,” minority Republicans of the US House Foreign Affairs Committee said in a report on the first anniversary of the Taliban takeover of Kabul.

The Biden administration, the report said, failed to prioritise evacuating US-trained Afghan commandos and other elite units in the shambolic Aug 14 to Aug 20, 2021, US troop pullout and evacuation operation at Kabul international airport.

Thirteen US soldiers died and hundreds of US citizens and tens of thousands of at-risk Afghans were left behind during the operation.

The administration calls the operation an “extraordinary success” that flew more than 124,000 Americans and Afghans to safety and wound up an “endless” war in which some 3,500 US and allied troops, and hundreds of thousands of Afghans died.

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