President Biden did not deny a report circulating Thursday that officials in his administration provided the Taliban with names of Americans in Afghanistan in order to help them get them safely to the airport.
“There were occasions when our military contacted their Taliban military counterparts and told them that this bus was going to pass … made up of the next group … let it go,” the president said. “Yes, there have been occasions like that.”
Biden added that to his knowledge “most of this group” has been passed up but cannot say with “certainty” that there was a list of names passed on to the Taliban.
“There may have been,” the president said.
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Biden was responding to a Politico report, confirmed by Fox News, that US officials in Kabul gave the Taliban a list of US citizens, green card holders and Afghan allies in a bid to allow them entry into the airport, which provoked outrage from the army. officials behind the scenes.
Biden was widely criticized for the report, with many disgruntled social media users calling the list a “kill list.”
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“Absolutely reckless and horrible,” Republican Senator Marsha Blackburn tweeted. “The Biden administration gave the Taliban an elimination list while lying to us, saying they did not have details of every name and place of residence. Everyone involved must resign or be removed from office.”
Biden’s comment comes hours after 13 U.S. servicemen were killed in a suicide bombing by ISIS-K outside Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul.
Officials told Fox News those killed included 12 Marines and a member of the Navy. Meanwhile, the Pentagon said more than a dozen others were injured in the attack.
The suicide bombing was followed by a firefight involving Islamic State gunmen at the departure gate, where the previous night 5,000 Afghans and potentially Americans were seeking access to the airport to flee. . Crowds had gathered for days in an attempt to flee the country, and there had been multiple warnings of a terrorist threat in the region – especially from the Islamic State.
The Pentagon has confirmed the initial explosion as well as a second attack on the Baron Hotel, where Americans have gathered in the past for rescue and evacuation. Marine Corps General Kenneth McKenzie Jr. said two suicide bombers were considered ISIS fighters.
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“The threat from ISIS is extremely real,” he said. “We believe it is their desire to continue these attacks, and we expect these attacks to continue, and we are doing everything we can to prepare for these attacks.”
Fox News Adam Shaw contributed to this report.
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