Secretary of State Antony Blinken denied that U.S. officials gave the Taliban a list of names of American citizens and Afghan allies—dubbed by one official as a “kill list”—before eventually conceding that the Biden administration did give Taliban terrorists the names of individuals who needed to be let through checkpoints.
The situation underscores the problem with the Democrat administration’s reliance on the Taliban—a longtime US enemy—to provide security and safe passage to those seeking to flee the country.
The Islamic fundamentalist group might just as readily use the list to target and persecute visa-eligible Afghanis before they have the opportunity to escape.
Politico reported last week that the U.S. gave the Taliban the names of American citizens, green-card holders, and Afghan allies who needed to be evacuated from the Kabul airport.
Blinken, however, claimed it was “simply not the case” that the U.S. handed over such a list.
“The idea that we’ve done anything to put at further risk those that were trying to help leave the country is simply wrong,” he told NBC News. “And the idea that we shared lists of Americans or others with the Taliban is simply wrong.”
NBC’s Chuck Todd pressed Blinken, asking him what exactly was shared.
Blinken then admitted the U.S. did hand over passenger manifests so the Taliban would allow busloads of evacuees past their checkpoints.
“When you’re trying to get a bus or a group of people through and you need to show a manifest to do that—particularly in cases where people don’t have the necessary credentials on them or documents on them—then you’ll share names of the lists of people on the bus so they can be assured those are the people we’re looking to bring in,” Blinken said. “By definition, that’s exactly what’s happened.”
It is not clear whether all of the passengers named on the U.S.’s manifests were evacuated.
Hundreds of students at the American University of Afghanistan said their names were among those given to the Taliban, and that they were denied evacuation by U.S. officials after initially being promised a safe exit.
The group reportedly boarded buses set for the airport on Sunday in a final attempt to flee the country, but they were told to turn around, according to the New York Times.