America handed ‘Kill List’ to Taliban: US officials handed over names of Afghan allies and citizens to be evacuated amid fears extremists will now target them for death
- Politico on Thursday reported the existence of a ‘kill list’ handed to the Taliban
- The list details U.S. citizens and Afghans who worked with the American forces
- U.S. officials handed over the list, Politico said, so the Taliban let them leave
- The Taliban is controlling area around Kabul airport and dictating who passes
- Biden said he was unaware of a specific list, but said it was distinctly possible
Joe Biden dithered on Thursday about a report that the Taliban was given a document naming Afghan allies and U.S. citizens described by a defense official as ‘a kill list’.
Biden said that he was unable to say whether a list had been handed to the Taliban, telling a press conference he was unaware of the list’s existence – but said it was indeed possible.
The list gives the identity of U.S. citizens, green card holders and Afghans granted visas for working with the U.S. army, Politico reported on Thursday.
It was handed to the Taliban after the fall of Kabul on August 15. The Taliban is controlling the area around Kabul airport, and dictating who can and cannot enter.
As the chaos around the airport mounted, the State Department on August 25 began telling Afghans hoping to leave the country not to come, and to wait for answers instead. After August 25, Afghan names were not on the list, Politico reported.
Yet for 10 days the Taliban were being handed documents detailing those who had worked with the U.S.
Joe Biden on Thursday was asked about a possible ‘kill list’ of U.S. citizens and Afghan allies, handed over to the Taliban. The list was designed to inform the Taliban who to let through to Kabul airport for evacuation. Biden said he was unaware of a specific list, but it was indeed possible
The Taliban has, according to multiple reports, been going door-to-door and hunting down Afghans who worked with the Americans or the fallen government.
Biden on Thursday said he was unaware of the details of the list – but said it was quite possible that it had been handed to the Taliban, with which the U.S. is cooperating during the evacuations.
‘There have been occasions when our military has contacted their military counterparts in the Taliban and said this, for example, this bus is coming through with X number of people on it, made up of the following group of people. We want you to let that bus or that group through,’ he said.
An Afghan translator, Josh Habib, far left, is seen working with U.S. Marines in July 2009 in Helmand province. The Taliban has reportedly been handed a list of names of Afghans like Habib who are trying to leave the country, and have been granted U.S. visas
Afghans are seen waving their paperwork at soldiers outside Kabul airport on Thursday
‘So, yes there have been occasions like that.
‘To the best of my knowledge, in those cases, the bulk of that has occurred and they have been let through.’
Biden said that he was not aware of any specific list.
‘I can’t tell you with any certitude that there’s actually been a list of names,’ he added.
‘There may have been. But I know of no circumstance.
‘It doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist, that here’s the names of 12 people, they’re coming, let them through.
‘It could very well have happened.’
Biden on Thursday spoke from the White House to address the deaths of 12 U.S. service members earlier in the day, in Kabul. He insisted that withdrawing from Afghanistan was and is the right thing to do
Taliban fighters are seen outside Kabul airport on August 19. They control the perimeter of the airport and are coordinating with U.S. officials to decide who can enter
Biden and his team have frequently emphasized since the August 15 fall of Kabul that the Taliban want the Americans to leave, and so are acting in their self-interest to speed the evacuation.
They have also emphasized that the Taliban cannot be trusted and, despite coordinating with U.S. military for the evacuations, should not be considered allies.
Defense officials told Politico they were astonished that the list of names was handed over to the terror group.
‘Basically, they just put all those Afghans on a kill list,’ said one defense official.
‘It’s just appalling and shocking and makes you feel unclean.’
Taliban fighters are pictured in central Kabul on August 19
Biden officials, in a classified briefing on Capitol Hill this week, reported by Politico, said that the list was the best way to keep Americans and Afghans safe and prevent a shooting war between Taliban fighters and the thousands of U.S. troops stationed at the airport.
‘They had to do that because of the security situation the White House created by allowing the Taliban to control everything outside the airport,’ one U.S. official said.
But after thousands of visa applicants arrived at the airport, overwhelming the capacity of the U.S. to process them, the State Department changed course and recommended that applicants do not come to the airport.
From then on, the list fed to the Taliban didn’t include those Afghan names, Politico reported.
As of August 25, only U.S. passport and green card holders were being accepted as eligible for evacuation.
Bob Menendez, a Democrat who chairs the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, appeared to criticize the Biden administration’s strategy of coordinating with the Taliban, writing in a statement: ‘As we wait for more details to come in, one thing is clear: We can’t trust the Taliban with Americans’ security.’
Biden on Thursday suggested that the Taliban could even help evacuate American citizens left behind after the August 31 deadline – despite the Taliban currently holding a U.S. citizen hostage.
Mark Frerichs, a civil engineer from Illinois, had lived in Kabul for a decade, working on various development projects, when he was abducted in January 2020 in the capital city, according to U.S. officials.
His captors soon turned him over to the Haqqani network, one of the more brutal groups working under the Taliban umbrella.
Yet Gen. Frank McKenzie, commander of U.S. Central Command, and Rear Adm. Peter Vasely, head of U.S. forces on the ground in Afghanistan, have referred to the Taliban in written documents as ‘our Afghan partners,’ according to two defense officials.
And Biden told Thursday’s press conference: ‘We’re going to be in a circumstance where there will be, I believe, numerous opportunities to continue to provide access for additional persons to get out of Afghanistan, either through means that we provide and/or are provided through cooperation with the Taliban.
He did not say how the Taliban could help evacuate Americans after August 31, but suggested that the threat of sanctions, pariah status and economic collapse could be leveraged.
‘They’re not good guys, the Taliban. I’m not suggesting that at all,’ he said.
‘But they have a keen interest.
‘As many of you have been reporting, they very much would like to figure out how to keep the airport open. They don’t have the capacity to do it.
‘They very much are trying to figure out whether or not they can maintain what is the portion of an economy that has become not robust, but fundamentally different than it had been.
‘And so there’s a lot of reasons why they have reached out not just to us, but to others, as to why it would be continued in their interest to get more of the personnel we want to get out.’
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