US officials in Kabul gave a list of names of American citizens, green card holders and Afghan allies to the Taliban to be granted entry into the group-controlled perimeter of Kabul airport, Politico reported.
“Basically, they just put all those Afghans on a kill list,” one defense official, who like others spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss a sensitive topic, told Politico. “It’s just appalling and shocking and makes you feel unclean.”
After the Taliban seized control of Afghanistan on August 15, they promised amnesty to government employees and soldiers and said the group would not retaliate against those who worked for foreign countries. However, activists and local journalists reported the group conducting home searches and arrests of the very people the Taliban claimed would not persecute.
Asked about the report, President Biden said on Thursday: “I can't tell you with any certitude that there's actually been a list of names… 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.”
Politico’s report coincided with the deadly attack on Kabul airport which was claimed by ISIS and led to the deaths of dozens of people and injured scores more. The attack claimed the lives of 13 US servicemen and injured 18 others.
The Taliban said the attack occurred in an area where US forces are responsible for security and one of the group’s officials claimed the attack was due to the presence of foreign forces.
The report caused uproar in Washington, especially among Republicans who blamed Biden for the death of the US servicemen, some going as far as saying the President had “blood on his hands.”
Top House Republican Kevin McCarthy said in press conference: “I heard him [Biden] say he can’t say with certitude if his administration gave American names to Taliban terrorists. Never in the history of this nation would we have ever thought that our own government would give the names of Americans to the Taliban.”