Sen. Marco Rubio Is Demanding Answers About List of Americans and Allies Sent to Taliban

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Posted: Aug 28, 2021 2:00 PM
Sen. Marco Rubio Is Demanding Answers About List of Americans and Allies Sent to Taliban

Source: AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, Pool

Thursday was an awful day in so many ways for this country and for Joe Biden's presidency. As Matt covered, POLITICO reported that we gave the Taliban a list of names of American citizens, green card holders, and Afghan allies. Biden himself didn't even deny it. Now, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), the Vice Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and senior member of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations Committee, is seeking answers from the president in the form of a letter sent on Friday.

The letter is very brief and to the point. It's barely over a page, and it starts off by pointing out that Biden even admitted to the list. Rubio also denounces the president in other ways, writing that "your decision to believe [the Taliban] was nothing less than irresponsible and nai¨ve."

Rubio doesn't just mean business with his harsh but well-deserved words for the president. It has real teeth to it too. His letter closes by pointing out that "I will oppose any and all of your nominees for national security positions until you provide responses to the questions posed."

The full text of the letter, which includes those questions, reads:

Dear President Biden:

I am greatly distressed by your admission that your administration may have provided a list of American citizens, legal permanent residents and vulnerable Afghans to the Taliban. Regardless of the assurances your administration may have received from the Taliban, your decision to believe them was nothing less than irresponsible and naïve. Sharing such a list provided the Taliban a powerful tool in their ongoing “revenge killings” of those who stood with the United States, and its mission in Afghanistan, during the last twenty years. 

While your administration may claim that providing this list helped Americans to get past Taliban checkpoints, this decision blatantly ignored credible reports that the Taliban was directly targeting Afghan individuals that supported American troops. As early as July 22, the Taliban abducted and executed Khasha Zwan, a popular comedian in Kandahar. On August 2, the U.S. Embassy in Kabul had accused Taliban fighters of carrying out at least 40 revenge killings in the district of Spin Boldak. Even as the Taliban claimed a “general amnesty,” there were multiple reports of Taliban fighters conducting door-to-door searches for those who worked for the Afghan government or for American organizations. At the height of the evacuation, personnel of the U.S. Embassy in Kabul destroyed passports and visa applications in their possession precisely so that they would not be used by the Taliban for this purpose. 

Given the significant personal risk to the individuals on this list, I demand that you immediately provide answers to the following questions: 

·Who authorized the list of names in question to be shared with the Taliban?

·When did your administration change its posture on the likelihood of Taliban revenge killings and provide this list to the Taliban? 

·Can you confirm if everyone on that list was safely evacuated? 

·Does your administration plan to inform those on that list of the significant personal threat they face? 

·Do you commit to rescuing those individuals on that list, if they were not already safely evacuated? 

This action has endangered Americans, and our allies, who have been unable to leave Afghanistan and seriously calls into question your administration’s decision making. As such, I will oppose any and all of your nominees for national security positions until you provide responses to the questions posed. 

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