US officials gave Taliban list of evacuees: report

U.S. officials gave the Taliban a list of American citizens and Afghan allies to grant access to Kabul’s airport, U.S. and congressional officials told Politico.

In the early days of the evacuation, the joint U.S. military and diplomatic coordination team at Kabul’s airport gave the Taliban a list of people the U.S. wanted to evacuate, Politico reported.

The list included Afghans who served alongside the U.S. during the war and sought special immigrant visas. Also listed were U.S. citizens, dual nationals and lawful permanent residents.

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But after thousands of visa applicants arrived, the State Department asked applicants not to come to the airport. Since then, the list given to the Taliban didn’t include the names of Afghans, Politico reported.

The move was meant to help evacuate thousands of people from Afghanistan after the Taliban seized control of the country, according to the news outlet. The White House has been relying on the Taliban to provide security for the outer perimeter of Kabul’s airport.

But the decision angered lawmakers and military officials, as the Taliban has a history of murdering Afghans who collaborated with the U.S. during the 20-year conflict.

“Basically, they just put all those Afghans on a kill list,” one defense official told Politico, adding “it’s just appalling and shocking and makes you feel unclean.”

U.S. Central Command declined to comment to Politico.

The Hill has reached out to Central Command and the Pentagon for comment. 

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Asked about the list, President BidenJoe BidenTexas announces election audit in four counties after Trump demand Pennsylvania AG sues to block GOP subpoenas in election probe House passes sweeping defense policy bill MORE told reporters that there have been instances where military officials ask the Taliban to allow busses with certain groups of people to pass through. However, he couldn't say with "certainty" that there had been a list of evacuees given to the Taliban.

"I can't tell you with any certainty that there's actually been a list of names. There may have been, but I know of no circumstances. Doesn't mean that it didn't exist," Biden said. "It could very well have happened."

In a news briefing Friday, State Department spokesperson Ned Price said the notion that the U.S. was providing information to the Taliban that exposes evacuees to additional risk is "simply false." 

"The notion that we are just providing names upon names of individuals who may stay behind in Afghanistan or in a way that would expose anyone to additional risk-- that is simply false," Price said. 

The U.S. has been rushing to evacuate thousands looking to leave Afghanistan ahead of the Biden administration’s Tuesday deadline for completing the withdrawal, though the process has come with a great deal of chaos.

 

A suicide bombing outside of the gates of Kabul's airport Thursday afternoon left 13 U.S. service members and at least 100 Afghans dead. 

Officials originally said a second bombing took place near the Barton Hotel adjacent to the airfield, but the Pentagon said Friday that it doesn't know the source of that original report.

Updated Aug. 27, 4:20 p.m.