Cruz questions Blinken on information showing lists of Americans allied to the Taliban

Senator Ted Cruz, of R-Texas, fought with Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Tuesday over reports that the State Department gave the Taliban lists of U.S. and Afghan allies that states -United were trying to evacuate.

“Did the State Department give the Taliban a list or multiple list of Americans and / or Afghans we wanted out of?” Cruz asked Blinken during a hearing of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on the withdrawal from Afghanistan.

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“These reports and the idea that we would do anything to endanger our citizens or anyone else at a time when we were trying to save their lives. [are] completely wrong, ”Blinken said, but later added that“ in limited cases ”the United States has given a manifesto to people at a checkpoint to demonstrate that they were expected.

Cruz was referring 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 to enter. at the airport, which provoked outrage from military officials behind the scenes.

A source confirmed to Fox News that the subject was brought up during a confidential briefing on Capitol Hill and that US officials had not handed over a list of “all the people” but had shared names on an ad hoc basis with the Taliban “whenever they wanted a specific group to pass.”

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Additionally, the source told Fox News that the handing over of the names “essentially condemned” some people who were allowed to go to the airport but were not on the specific lists provided.

Cruz asked how many names were on the list, but Blinken replied that it “didn’t matter” and that he would not put a number in it.

“Senator, by definition, it was in limited cases a bus or a group of people to take them through a checkpoint. They went through the checkpoint,” he said.

The questioning came amid a number of grills Blinken received during the hearing, where he defended the Biden administration’s handling of the hasty withdrawal from Afghanistan and the race to get the Americans out and their allies in the country controlled by the Taliban.

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Earlier in the hearing, Cruz had dismissed efforts by the Democrats on the committee to blame the Trump administration by arguing that Trump made the original troop withdrawal agreement in May of this year.

“Mr. Secretary, Joe Biden is the President of the United States, Kamala Harris is the Vice President of the United States. You are the Secretary of State of the United States,” he said. “Just like [former President] Jimmy Carter is the disaster owner of the Iran hostage crisis, you own it. “

Fox News’ Andrew Mark Miller and Hillary Vaughn contributed to this report.

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