OPINION: This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion
Joe Biden has been accused of “treason” and of providing the Taliban a “hit list” of Americans to set their sights on by Republican Texas Rep. Dan Crenshaw.
The representative took to Twitter on Thursday after it was reported by Politico reporter Lara Seligman that “U.S. officials gave the Taliban a list of names of U.S. citizens, green card holders & Afghan allies to grant entry into the outer perimeter of the city’s airport, prompting outrage behind the scenes from lawmakers and military officials.”
SCOOP: U.S. officials gave the Taliban a list of names of U.S. citizens, green card holders & Afghan allies to grant entry into the outer perimeter of the city’s airport, prompting outrage behind the scenes from lawmakers and military officials. https://t.co/WHHzStyynk
— Lara Seligman (@laraseligman) August 26, 2021
The Texas representative was furious with the news.
“If true, this qualifies as borderline treason. We need to find out who is responsible for giving the Taliban a hit list and they need to go to prison,” he said on Twitter.
If true, this qualifies as borderline treason. We need to find out who is responsible for giving the Taliban a hit list and they need to go to prison. https://t.co/WTkeRytHmN
— Dan Crenshaw (@DanCrenshawTX) August 26, 2021
Arizona State Sen. Wendy Rogers was more direct as she said “How dumb can you be? TREASON.”
How dumb can you be? TREASONhttps://t.co/PymDVcXcIa
— Wendy Rogers (@WendyRogersAZ) August 26, 2021
U.S. officials in Kabul gave the Taliban a list of names of American citizens, green card holders and Afghan allies to grant entry into the militant-controlled outer perimeter of the city’s airport, a choice that’s prompted outrage behind the scenes from lawmakers and military officials.
The move, detailed to POLITICO by three U.S. and congressional officials, was designed to expedite the evacuation of tens of thousands of people from Afghanistan as chaos erupted in Afghanistan’s capital city last week after the Taliban seized control of the country. It also came as the Biden administration has been relying on the Taliban for security outside the airport.
Since the fall of Kabul in mid-August, nearly 100,000 people have been evacuated, most of whom had to pass through the Taliban’s many checkpoints. But the decision to provide specific names to the Taliban, which has a history of brutally murdering Afghans who collaborated with the U.S. and other coalition forces during the conflict, has angered lawmakers and military officials.
A defense official who spoke on condition of anonymity said that whoever did this has put Afghans on a “kill list.”
“Basically, they just put all those Afghans on a kill list,” they said. “It’s just appalling and shocking and makes you feel unclean.”
After the Taliban took control of Kabul the joint U.S. military and diplomatic coordination team at the Kabul airport gave the Taliban a list of people that it planned to evacuate. The names included Afghans who had worked with the United States. In addition to the Afghans, United States citizens and lawful permanent residents and dual nationals were 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,” a United States official said.
The news comes hours after attacks near the airport that have claimed the lives of United States military members and Afghans.
Pentagon spokesman John Kirby confirmed the explosion on Twitter, noting that there have been multiple U.S. casualties.
“We can confirm that the explosion at the Abbey Gate was the result of a complex attack that resulted in a number of US & civilian casualties,” he wrote. “We can also confirm at least one other explosion at or near the Baron Hotel, a short distance from Abbey Gate. We will continue to update.”
We can confirm that the explosion at the Abbey Gate was the result of a complex attack that resulted in a number of US & civilian casualties. We can also confirm at least one other explosion at or near the Baron Hotel, a short distance from Abbey Gate. We will continue to update.
— John Kirby (@PentagonPresSec) August 26, 2021
Details of the explosion came amid warnings for evacuees to stay away from the airport in Kabul earlier on Thursday, following an increased threat from ISIS-K, the Daesh’s branch in Afghanistan. Defense officials told lawmakers on Tuesday that a new threat was emerging n Afghanistan following the collapse of the Afghan government, which was supplanted by Taliban forces who took over most of the nation’s capital cities, including Kabul.
According to Axios, the State Department issued a warning on Wednesday night urging Americans not to travel to the airport and to leave immediately if they gathered near the Abbey Gate, East Gate, or North Gate. Similar warnings were given by the U.K. and Australian governments, which are assisting in the evacuation effort.
James Heappey, the British armed forces minister, said on BBC that the threat of a suicide bombing attack by ISIS forces was “credible, imminent, and lethal.”
Prior to the attack, the White House stressed the possibility of an attack by ISIS-K and cited it as a primary factor in trying to complete the evacuation by the August 31st deadline.