White House National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan was unsure Tuesday when asked on MSNBC whether the Taliban was now an “enemy” of the United States or still viewed as an adversary.
On “Deadline: White House,” Sullivan said the Taliban were not “nice guys” but had a vested interest in working alongside the United States to make the evacuation process run smoothly. . Although the US military left Afghanistan for good on Monday, hundreds of Americans and thousands of Afghan allies and third-country nationals are still stranded.
“In the future, I think they will have an interest in responding to our requests because we have a huge weight on them. We intend to use that leverage to continue to bring people out,” said Sullivan.
“Just over these lines, what are the Taliban? Wallace asked. “Are they now our enemies, our adversaries, are they our enemies, are they our – what are they?” “
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“Well, it’s hard to put a label on it in part because we haven’t seen what they’re going to be now that they physically control Afghanistan,” Sullivan said. “They will announce a government in the next few days. This government will seek diplomatic engagement, even recognition from other countries, including the United States. In fact, the Taliban spokesman said today that it was looking for positive relations on behalf of the Taliban, especially with the United States. We will not only grant positive relations to the Taliban. “
The Islamic fundamentalist group quickly regained control of Afghanistan this month as the United States began to withdraw its troops and the Afghan government collapsed. Scenes of terror and panic ensued in Kabul as desperate Afghans tried to flee the country’s next authoritarian regime.
Afghans are skeptical of the Taliban’s claims that they would rule the country with more restraint than when they were in power 20 years ago, when they severely restricted women’s freedoms and ruled the nation with a grasp of iron. There are already reports of forced marriages and executions since he took power.
Biden has received strong criticism for his handling of the pullout, which also saw an Islamic State suicide bombing near Kabul airport that killed 13 US servicemen.
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Wallace, an enthusiastic supporter of the Biden administration, ended his interview with Sullivan on a sympathetic note to the president, who spoke defiantly on Tuesday about his handling of the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan. Repeating Biden’s talking point that he inherited the Trump administration’s peace deal with the Taliban, Wallace complained that “the foreign policy establishment and the media” were unfairly criticizing him.
“It seems like an exasperated president,” she said. “He did what he said he was going to do. He followed exactly the same policy put in place by his predecessor. It was Donald Trump who made this deal with the Taliban. a sense of frustration that some members of the foreign policy establishment and the media are piling on this president as he simply does what he said he was going to do and follows through on a deal the guy made who came before him? “
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“I think what you heard today, Nicolle, was a president with a conviction, a real deep conviction. It starts in his guts, it goes to his heart and it occupies his head that the time had come to be. end this war, ”he said. .