US officials handed the Taliban names of Americans, green card holders, and Afghan allies to evacuate, according to a bombshell report by Politico on the darkest day of Joe Biden’s young presidency.
Days after Kabul fell to the Taliban, two suicide bombers and gunmen from the ISIS-K — far more radical than the Taliban — attacked crowds of fleeing Afghans at Kabul airport on Thursday. The attacks killed at least 60 Afghans, 13 US troops, and injured at least 18 US service members.
Anger and shock are rippling through Washington on the scale of outsourcing Americans’ exit routes to the Taliban — which has a long history of brutality towards US service members.
“Basically, they just put all those Afghans on a kill list,” Politico quotes a US defense official as saying. “It’s just appalling and shocking and makes you feel unclean,” the official is quoted as saying.
When asked about this reported list, US President Joe Biden acknowledged – in general terms – that there’s plenty of communication between the Taliban and US forces.
“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.
Gen. Frank McKenzie, commander of US Central Command has spoken in similar ways about the Taliban in recent days, ever since the US kicked off its chaotic and rushed withdrawal. On Thursday, in the first Pentagon briefing after the Kabul bombings, Gen. McKenzie outlined detailed security coordination with the Taliban as a tool to get Americans to safety.
Even as Biden administration officials defend their approach of collaborating with the Taliban on the final bend of a 20-year war, the Taliban’s enemy ISIS-K has stormed into a newly created power vacuum.
A US Defence Department official has said the Trump administration wanted to pull out of Afghanistan in the hopes of joining forces with the Taliban against ISIS-K.