President Joe Biden has been widely criticized for his handling of the withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan, an undertaking that has so far left at least 13 U.S. military personnel dead.
However, one Republican lawmaker recently took the criticism to another level when he said the president is guilty of “borderline treason” for his latest actions amid chaos in Kabul.
The charge was leveled by former Navy SEAL and Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-TX) following reports that the U.S. government had provided the Taliban with a list of American citizens, green card holders, and Afghan interpreters who they hoped to evacuate from Afghanistan in the coming days.
“If true, this qualifies as borderline treason,” Crenshaw said in a tweet on Thursday. “We need to find out who is responsible for giving the Taliban a hit list and they need to go to prison.”
A “hit list” for the Taliban
Crenshaw was reacting to a story published by Politico this week that claimed the roster of would-be evacuees was handed over in order to help those attempting to reach Kabul’s airport pass through Taliban lines.
Politico explained that the decision “came as the Biden administration has been relying on the Taliban for security outside the airport.”
The outlet cited a U.S. defense official who spoke on the condition of anonymity. “Basically, they just put all those Afghans on a kill list. It’s just appalling and shocking and makes you feel unclean,” the official reportedly told Politico.
Biden admits it
For his part, President Biden sounded evasive when he answered questions about the botched Afghanistan withdrawal during a press conference Thursday afternoon.
“There have been occasions when our military has contacted their military counterparts in the Taliban and said this, for example, this bus is coming through with X number of people on it, made up of the following group of people,” the president said, according to Politico.
“We want you to let that bus or that group through,” Biden went on. “So, yes there have been occasions like that. To the best of my knowledge, in those cases, the bulk of that has occurred and they have been let through.”
Biden said he couldn’t say “with any certitude that there’s actually been a list of names,” but admitted: “There may have been.”
“I know of no circumstance,” Biden added. “It doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist, that here’s the names of 12 people, they’re coming, let them through. It could very well have happened,” the president conceded, according to Politico.