U.S. officials in Kabul provided the Taliban with a list of names of American citizens, green card holders and Afghan allies who should be given entry into the airport in an effort to expedite evacuation, according to three U.S. and congressional officials, Politico reported on Thursday.
The move sparked outrage with officials as chaos erupted in Afghanistan Thursday, with multiple suicide bombing attacks near the airport leaving at least 12 U.S. troops dead and 15 others critically injured.
“Basically, they just put all those Afghans on a kill list,” one defense official said, speaking on a condition of anonymity. “It’s just appalling and shocking and makes you feel unclean.”
The list was brought up during a classified briefing earlier this week in which top Biden administration officials defended working closely with the Taliban, Politico reported. The officials maintained that it was the best approach to keeping Americans and Afghan allies safe and to avoid a shoot-out between American troops and Taliban fighters.
In the early days of the evacuation and after Kabul fell to the Taliban, the U.S. military and diplomatic team gave the terrorist organization the list of people the U.S. wanted to evacuate, including Afghans who serviced with U.S. forces during the 20-year war. U.S. citizens, dual nationals and lawful permanent residents were also on the list.
“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 asserted.
After hordes of people overwhelmed the Kabul airport, evacuation efforts were adjusted, and an updated list without Afghan names was given to the Taliban. The defense official said only U.S. passport and green card holders were considered eligible for evacuation as of August 25.
According to two defense officials, 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 called the Taliban terrorist group “our Afghan partners” in both written and verbal communications.
During a briefing on Thursday, Gen. McKenzie said, “We’re still working to calculate the total loss as we just don’t know what that is right now.”
The U.S. service members killed on Thursday are the first U.S. service members to be killed in Afghanistan in over a year and a half. Two U.S. service members were shot and killed in an ambush attack in February 2020 and six more were wounded during that same attack.
The report conducted by the Norwegian Center for Global Analyses (also known as RHIPTO), a group that provides intelligence research for the U.N., said the Taliban have been going door-to-door and “arresting and/or threatening to kill or arrest family members of target individuals unless they surrender themselves to the Taliban.”