An unnamed “family of a former Afghan interpreter” with U.S. citizenship reportedly received a “mysterious” and “threatening” audio recording on August 31, claiming the Taliban would persecute them based on a list provided by the administration of President Joe Biden, the Epoch Times reported on Thursday.
The audio recording reportedly features “a man speaking Pashto ask[ing] his superior for permission to ‘hunt down everyone’ on lists of Afghans who helped the United States,” the Times reported. “The unnamed speaker — who sources believe is a Taliban combatant — asks whether those captured should be killed, suggesting methods of execution.”
The Epoch Times admitted “the source of the recording, and why it was sent to this family, is not clear.” It offered no confirmation that individuals affiliated with the Taliban had recorded it or sent it to the family.
A Times translation of the alleged message read in part:
Greeting Mawlawee sahib, how are you doing? Thank God now the Americans have withdrawn from the airport and everything is in our own hands. Mufti Sahib, what is your order regarding those who had worked with the foreign forces, and should we start searching from Kandahar and Badakhshan provinces and also search for those who specifically worked with Americans as a spy and done a lot of things?
Just let me know what is your order regarding finding and gathering all of them and kill them, hang them or expose them to the public or stone them to death—what should we do?
Now everything is in our hands and they can’t escape from us, should we be gathering them?
We have their list— those who had worked with foreign forces, and all their lists were written in Qasaba [a district in Kabul] and in the airport and we received all of their lists, those who were relying on foreign forces to evacuate them to America. We received every single list of theirs, so what is your order should we gather them all and hang them? So when should we start the searches— today or tomorrow? Just give us the order, we have all of their lists.
The alleged reference to the “list” correlates with Politico’s report claiming that U.S. officials provided the Taliban lists of American citizen’s names, green card holders, and Afghan allies, which were or still are stranded behind enemy lines. Media reports explained the “kill list” – as it has become known, given it allows the Taliban to persecute confirmed American allies – was “designed to expedite the evacuation of tens of thousands of people from Afghanistan as chaos erupted in Afghanistan’s capital city last week after the Taliban seized control of the country.”
In addition to reports about the Taliban obtaining a list of stranded Americans, the Pentagon told reporters the United States armed forces were relying on the Taliban to secure the outer perimeter of the Kabul airport that served as an extraction point for those fleeing the country.
American reliance on the Taliban for security was reportedly in vigor the moment a suicide bomber detonated a reported 50 pounds of explosives, killing 13 U.S. service members and hundreds of bystanders just outside an airport gate. The Islamic State Khorasan Province (ISIS-K) a separate jihadist organization, claimed responsibility for the attacks, while the Taliban issued a public statement condemning them.
President Joe Biden reacted to the news by continuing to evacuate those who reached the airport but did not expand his military force to secure the city in an effort to rescue any stranded Americans being stopped by Taliban checkpoints.
At press time, it is unclear how many Americans are still stranded in Afghanistan. U.S. officials estimate between 100 or 200 are trapped. However, the White House originally claimed 11,000 Americans were in the county before it collapsed.
Follow Wendell Husebø on Twitter @WendellHusebø