Biden administration officials took to the airwaves this weekend to deny a report that U.S. officials handed the names of American citizens and Afghans who worked with U.S. forces over to the Taliban, even as evidence mounts that they did.
CNN’s Jake Tapper questioned National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan about passing on the names of Afghan Special Immigrant Visa applicants, or SIVs, to hostile forces in the Taliban. “I understand the U.S. has relied upon the Taliban for this evacuation process,” Tapper said. “But with all due respect, a lot of these Afghan SIVs … think the Taliban’s going to kill them — and you’ve given them a list of their names.”
Sullivan said the administration had “aggressively and decisively disputed that report.”
“We have given no list of all of the American SIV holders to the Taliban or any other kind of big list,” he said on Sunday’s “State of the Union.” The “idea that we’re handing over databases or lists to the Taliban is simply unfounded and inaccurate.”
“There was a Pentagon official in that report that referred to this as a ‘kill list,’” Tapper retorted. He then parsed Sullivan’s precise use of language. “Are you disputing that any of this information was given — or are you just disputing that it was a huge comprehensive list?” he asked.
Sullivan replied that the report was “flat-out not correct. There is no such ‘kill list.’ It is nonsense. It is irresponsible and unfounded reporting.”
Secretary of State Anthony Blinken also addressed the topic while making the rounds of the Sunday morning TV shows on behalf of the administration. On “Meet the Press,” Chuck Todd asked Blinken about sharing the names of stranded U.S. citizens and their allies with the Taliban.
“I know you guys think some of this has been a bit overreported or exaggerated,” he offered. “But given the Haqqani network’s ties to the Taliban, how can you be sure any list you share of Afghans who helped Americans won’t be used for horrendous reasons by the Haqqani network or others?”
Blinken replied that “the idea that we shared lists of Americans or others with the Taliban is simply wrong” — before clarifying that U.S. officials did share the identities of Americans in some instances.
Blinken likened the name-sharing to showing a bus manifest. “Particularly in cases where people don’t have the necessary credentials on them or documents on them, then you’ll share names on a list of people on the bus, so [the Taliban] can be assured that those are people that we’re looking to bring in” to Hamid Karzi International Airport for evacuation flights.
But evidence continues to build that the administration turned over the names and passport information of at least hundreds of people in at least one specific instance.
The New York Times reported on Sunday that a group of students from the American University of Afghanistan (AUAF) became “alarmed after the U.S. military, following protocol, shared a list of names and passport information of hundreds of students and their families with the Taliban guarding the airport checkpoints.”
“They told us: we have given your names to the Taliban,” a 24-year-old sophomore named Hosay told the Times. “We are all terrified, there is no evacuation, there is no getting out.”
The students, whom the university versed in pro-American ideals, had cause for concern: The Taliban attacked AUAF on August 24, 2016, killing 15 people, including seven students, during a 10-hour assault. The Islamist group described the students as “wolves,” hungry to do America’s bidding.
The administration has not specifically disputed the New York Times’ report.
President Joe Biden confirmed the possibility of such sharing last Thursday. While he noted the narrow instances in which “our military has contacted their military counterparts in the Taliban and said this bus is coming through … made up of the following group,” he did not deny the possibility of a transfer of a large mass of names.
“There may have been” such an instance, the president admitted. “It could very well have happened.”
The carefully worded and often-ambiguous denials have led legacy media reporters to note that questions linger.
Biden administration “has increasingly claimed that it wasn’t sharing lists, even as it defends such information-sharing in specific instances,” wrote Aaron Blake of The Washington Post.
“The Times report on a list containing passport information for hundreds of people who aren’t being evacuated seriously calls that into question.”
The views expressed in this piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.