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Psaki Denies U.S. Gave Taliban Names of Americans, Afghans Attempting to Evacuate: ‘Misreported and Misconstrued’

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White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki speaks to the press in Washington, D.C., August 4, 2021. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

White House press secretary Jen Psaki on Monday pushed back on a recent report that the U.S. gave the Taliban lists identifying the Americans and Afghans trying to evacuate the country through the airport in Kabul.

Psaki acknowledged that U.S. commanders have provided the names of evacuees to the Taliban as they arrived at checkpoints, but denied that the military has provided lists of would-be evacuees to the Taliban “preemptively,” as indicated by Politico.

“First let me say there have been reports that we provided lists of people who want to leave Afghanistan to the Taliban. That’s inaccurate. That’s misreported and misconstrued,” Psaki said.

“There have been limited cases where it is possible that when buses or individuals are at a border checkpoint and they’re trying to get through, in order to get them through to evacuate them successfully, we have had to coordinate and provide details,” Psaki continued. “I don’t have confirmation of those events, but that is the scenario in a limited case where that would happen. And in the vast majority of cases, those individuals have been evacuated.”

In response to a follow-up question, Psaki attempted to clarify her remarks.

“Reports or suggestions that we were giving a preemptive list of Afghans who want to leave the country is inaccurate,” Psaki said. “There could be cases where commanders who are communicating with the Taliban to get people through checkpoints…were saying ‘here’s individuals who need to get through.’”

The U.S. gave names of American citizens, green-card holders, and Afghan allies to the Taliban so that militants providing security at the Kabul airport would let them through the outer perimeter, Politico reported on Thursday. Thousands of Americans and Afghans have attempted to leave Afghanistan via the airport and have faced hurdles reaching it including Taliban checkpoints and threat of terror attacks.

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