William B. Scott
A FICTIONAL SCENARIO
The first casualties were small teams of Taliban thugs going door-to-door in Kabul, searching for Americans and Afghan nationals who had aided the U.S. and its allies. Armed with detailed lists, biometric identification data and state-of-the-art military gear abandoned at Bagram Air Base, the arrogant fighters were unmerciful.
As one particularly ruthless Taliban zealot dragged an abandoned American student into the street, a brilliant flash elicited a blood-chilling scream. The fighter dropped to the ground, hands clawing what had been his face. Wraparound dark sunglasses he’d lifted from the American booty at Bagram had detonated, instantly blinding him.
The man’s sidekick ignored those screams of excruciating pain. He had problems of his own. The American desert-camouflage battle uniform he wore had ignited and was completely engulfed in white-hot flames, as if his entire body were a phosphorous flare. Staggering a few steps, Taliban Two collapsed and was immolated in seconds.
The American student cowered in abject fear, staring in shock at her tormentors. Moments earlier, she was facing certain death or horrific slavery. Now, the fanatics who had dragged her from a U.S. State Department “safe house” were writhing in the dust—one howling in agony, blind and helpless. The other was slowly curling into a charred, unrecognizable lump. An appalling stench gagged her, the unmistakable odor of burning human flesh—and death. She half-crawled and stumbled back to her safe-house hidey-hole. Soon, she knew, another Taliban team would be coming for her.
What the woman didn’t know—couldn’t know, thanks to the Taliban controlling all television and radio news outlets—was the atrocious scene she had witnessed was hardly unique. Throughout Kabul, thousands of Taliban radicals were dying in gruesome ways even those heartless experts of torture and death could never have imagined. Simultaneously, Taliban loyalists manning checkpoints across the region were falling dead or dying, suffering unbearable torment, as they expired.
Initially, those wearing American Kevlar helmets heard Allah’s distinct, booming command inside their heads: “Stop murdering my children!” Seconds later, a burst of electrostatic energy radiating from the helmet itself electronically lobotomized the fighter’s brain, transforming hearty men to dead-eyed human vegetables. Others simply collapsed in place and died, their craniums indisputably fried by an intense surge of microwaves.
Any Taliban carrying an American rifle or pistol and wearing a protective Kevlar vest was downed by powerful shaped charges, as coatings on gun barrels and various parts of their weapons and battle gear detonated. Limbs were blown clear of torsos in a flash, as bullet-resistant vests imploded.
Huge stacks of weapons abandoned by fleeing American forces suddenly exploded, creating massive mushroom clouds in the skies over Bagram. Inside hangars, disabled aircraft and helicopters systematically blew up and burned. Toyota pickup trucks and million-dollar armored vehicles carrying .50-caliber machine guns detonated in unison, instantly killing any Taliban “soldier” onboard.
In Taliban command centers throughout Afghanistan, hundreds of senior leaders merely slumped in chairs or dropped where they stood. Not a sound was detectable. Death arrived silently. When triggered by covert, low-probability-of-intercept terahertz signals beamed from satellites and high-altitude drones, computers, high-tech radios, crates of night-vision devices and other sophisticated electronic gear emitted waveforms of electromagnetic or electrostatic energy tailored to interact with human organs. Taliban hearts fluttered and stopped beating, their bio-electrical regulators overwhelmed and confused. Synapses in human brains fired erratically, erasing memories, precipitating strokes and commanding organs to shut down.
One common element linked these nightmares of death and destruction: Equipment and weapons that President Joe Biden had secretly agreed to turn over to the Taliban in exchange for safe passage of Americans and selected Afghans. Unknown to Biden and his advisors, each and every item of left-behind military equipment—clothing, weapons, ammunition, communication gear, drones and vehicles—shared two features: a built-in tracking device and nano-particle coatings of incredibly powerful explosives. However, the coatings were inert and safe, until activated by specific terahertz signals tailored to penetrate virtually every natural or manmade substance. There was no place Taliban-confiscated American materiel could be protected from those signals. Every scrap of gear left behind at Bagram Air Base was a killing machine-in-waiting.
And only a small cadre of Americans knew it.
FLASHBACK: MAY 2017 — CLASSIFIED LOCATION IN WASHINGTON, D.C.
Donald J. Trump, the new president, was aghast and furious. “So you’re telling me that roughly $83 billion of American military hardware is either already in Afghanistan or committed to be delivered there?”
“That’s correct, sir,” a retired three-star Army general and current national security advisor replied. “Every bit of it’s being given to the nascent Afghan military and national police forces.”
The president shook his head and slapped a conference table with an open palm. “Why the hell would we give advanced weapons and technology to those people? Historically, Afghan warlords turn on their ‘allies’ whenever the power structure shifts! You know I’m committed to getting our troops out of that sh…, uh, that damned endless war. And now thousands of weapons and high-dollar, sophisticated equipment are going to fall into bad-guy hands, when we pull out! That’s insanity on steroids!”
“Mr. President, you know I never bring a problem, unless I can also offer a solution.” The advisor punched a button on a handheld remote and pointed at a figure appearing on the Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility’s wall-size display screen. “Sir, I’d like you to meet ‘The Black Leopard.’ He couldn’t be here in-person, but is honored to brief you on the issue we’re discussing.”
Trump scowled at the man on-screen. “You have a real name?”
“Sir, I’m just an old Marine proud to serve his country yet again. For good reasons that I’ll spare you, ‘Black Leopard’ will have to suffice. Let’s just say there’s a price on this seventy-five-year-old head, and I prefer to keep a low profile.”
The general jumped in, before the president’s retort. “Sir, I’ll explain in detail later. For now, please take my word: Sergeant ‘Leopard’ has handled a situation similar to this in the past—for another president. A touchy operation in Africa about twenty-five years ago. Equipment turned over to a bunch of bad guys had tracking devices embedded…”
The president interrupted, “Got it. For what purpose?”
The ‘Leopard’ grinned and shrugged. “I know nothing, Mr. President. But I heard that a bunch of very unpleasant folks turned up seriously dead. Or so I was told.” Again, a squint-eyed smile.
“Since then, sir, the ‘Leopard’ has incorporated new features that will ensure stuff going to the Afghans will be…neutralized, so to speak,” the general added.
“Cut the crap, gents. Just tell me what you can do, Leopard,” Trump snapped. Patience was not among his finer qualities.
From a secret location deep in the Colorado Rockies, The Black Leopard quickly outlined the technology: Nano-particle coatings on every weapon, uniform, electronic device, aircraft and armored vehicle that the previous administration had committed to giving a fledgling Afghan army. Covert markers that, when “painted” by tailored-waveform signals, instantly provided location information, enabling each device to be tracked in real-time.
“Once activated by different signals beamed from satellites, drones or special ops forces on the ground, those nano-coatings either detonate or emit deadly bursts of energy that kill or otherwise screw-up bad guys.” He continued, explaining in no-BS terms the gruesome effects of those ultra-tiny coatings.
“Bottom line: This is an advanced and extremely efficient means of remotely destroying an enemy force, without risking American lives. The targets have no clue what’s happening, who’s zapping them or how. They simply get a one-way ticket to terrorist Hades.”
The president glared at the big screen for a long minute, fingers tapping the polished table top. “Let’s say I green-light this operation. How are you—one man—going to tag or ‘arm’ this ungodly huge pile of materiel, before it goes to Afghanistan? How do we know it won’t wind up in the wrong hands, when we leave that place?
“That’s the beauty of this option, sir,” ‘Leopard’ smiled. “If the stuff stays in the right hands, it works exactly like our own equipment right here in the good ol’ U.S. of A. But let’s say al Quaida, ISIS or the Taliban somehow snatch it. No problem. We throw a switch, our magic signals precisely paint every piece of gear in whatever-a-stan it happens to be in, and whoever’s holding, wearing, firing, driving or flying the toys we gave the Afghan military instantly dies, burns, goes blind or is shredded instantly. Trust me, Mr. President, bad shit will happen in a heartbeat, if and when we pull the high-tech triggers.
“As for getting everything ‘doped’ with nano-explosives, I’ll use your off-the-books team, Checkmate*. I’ve worked with General Gray Manor, who I believe you know. His logistics folks will work with defense contractors to integrate our proprietary nano-coatings into their manufacturing processes.”
President Trump scratched his chin a long moment, almost smiled and nodded. “Tell us what you need to launch this. Do it! ASAP!”
Thousands of Taliban fighters dying in and around Kabul, all within months of the ignominious U.S. and allied departure, unleashed a vicious backlash against the terrorist group. Pockets of Taliban goons were captured by angry warlords, who had been receiving obscene amounts of cash for aiding American and NATO forces. Some of the terrorists were simply shot; others were hung or stoned to death by women, who buried their tormentors’ battered corpses in hated burqas. A few Taliban managed to reach their sanctuaries in Pakistan, only to be imprisoned by formerly friendly Pakistani intelligence agents. Clearly, those agents and the nation’s leaders had received a loud-and-clear back-channel message from a former president of the United States: “We’ve sold or given Pakistan thousands of weapons and aircraft. You harbor ANY Taliban or other terrorist vermin, and you, too, will suffer the same end as those in Kabul.”
Surprisingly, the stunned Biden Administration and its globalist allies, including Chuck Schumer, Lizzy Warren, Bernie Sanders, Nancy Pelosi, Adam Schiff and hundreds of arrogant Deep State operators throughout the Washington Swamp had little to say about the unbelievable turnaround in Afghanistan. When “meanstream media” sycophants strived to credit Biden with the Taliban’s staggering decimation, their requests for White House comments were met with silence.
Had Washington Swamp critters also received back-channel briefings on exactly what had occurred in Afghanistan? Or were they as mystified and stunned as the Taliban they had naively trusted?
The baffled media were left to speculate about two questions: How were the Taliban crushed so quickly? And who gave the ‘Take ‘em out’ order?
* Checkmate is a covert counterterrorism team of special operators first introduced in “The Permit,” a techno-thriller novel.