The United States may have made a potentially deadly blunder by handing over what is now being feared to be a 'kill list' to the Taliban that is now being used to execute American evacuees and Afghans who helped the U.S., according to a new report. Even President Joe Biden accepted that during a press conference on Thursday.
The decision was reportedly made despite the United States being aware of the Taliban's notorious reputation for brutally executing Afghans who helped the US military and other Western forces during the 20-year-long war. But nothing much can be done now as things have gone out of control.
Following the two deadly blasts outside Kabul airport, Biden during a press conference said that he was unaware of the existence of such a list but also admitted that it is possible that such a document existed, which may have now turned into a potential 'kill list' in the hands of the Taliban.
Following Taliban's takeover of Kabul on August 15, U.S. officials handed them a detailed list containing the names of American citizens, green card holders and Afghan allies so they could be given easy entry into the Taliban-controlled perimeter around the Hamid Karzai International Airport, according to Politico. The area around the airport is being controlled by the Islamist extremist group and is taking a call on who can or cannot enter the area.
However, the list intended to help these people get through the gates is now feared to have turned into a list of enemies in the hands of the Taliban that need to be wiped out. To put it in simple words, the Taliban is identifying these people with the help of the list and executing them.
"Basically, they just put all those Afghans on a kill list," a U.S. defense official told Politico. "It's just appalling and shocking and makes you feel unclean."
Biden acknowledged unspecified "occasions" on which the U.S. military had contacted the Taliban to say, "for example, this bus is coming through with 'X' number of people on it, made up of the following people. And to the best of my knowledge, in those cases, the bulk of that has occurred. They've been let through," Biden said.
"But 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."
Although Biden said that he is unsure, intelligence agents feel that the move backfired and now it's too late to rectify the mistake. The existence of the list further gets proved from the way things started taking a turn from Wednesday.
As the pandemonium at the airport escalated ahead of the final hours into the evacuation, the State Department on Wednesday started telling Afghans trying to flee the country not to come to the airport and instead wait for answers. After that, Afghan names were not on the list, Politico reported.
This means the state department realized that the Taliban were identifying people with the help of this 'kill list' and executing them. But the realization came a bit late as for the first 10 days the Taliban were being handed documents detailing those who had worked with the United States.
Biden may not be acknowledging it but his words hint at what possibly is happening. "That doesn't mean it's not â it didn't exist. That, 'Here's the names of 12 people. They're coming. Let them through.' It could very well have happened," Biden said.
The shocking revelation came just days after Taliban death squads started going "door-to-door" to hunt down suspected Afghan "collaborators," with tens of thousands of American allies potentially at risk. The White House's massive miscalculation and goof up surfaced during a classified, Capitol Hill briefing earlier this week, Politico reported.