WH Maintaining Constant Contact With Taliban Throughout Evacuation

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By Christian Datoc August 21, 2021 | Image Source: Washington Examiner

President Joe Biden stated Friday that as the United States conducts the evacuation of thousands of Americans trapped in Afghanistan, his administration remains in “constant contact” with Taliban officials.

“As we continue to work, the logistics of evacuation, we’re in constant contact with the Taliban, working to ensure civilians have safe passage to the airport. We’re particularly focused on our engagements on making sure every American who wants to leave can get to the airport,” the president stated during a national address from the White House. “We made clear to the Taliban that any attack, any attack on our forces or disruption of our operations at the airport, will be met with swift and forceful response.”

Biden added that the U.S. is also maintaining a “close watch on any potential terrorist threat at or around the airport, including from the ISIS affiliates in Afghanistan who were released from prison when the prisons were emptied.”

He claimed that “ISIS in Afghanistan” is the “sworn enemy of the Taliban.”

The president made clear that the “evacuation mission is dangerous and involves risks to our armed forces” and that he “cannot guarantee” it will be carried out without loss.

“But as commander in chief, I can assure you that I will mobilize every resource necessary,” he continued. “And as an American, I offer my gratitude to the brave men and women of the U.S. armed forces who are carrying out this mission.”

While answering questions from reporters, Biden denied seeing any evidence that Taliban forces were preventing Americans, Afghan nationals, or third-country nationals from reaching the airport in Kabul.

A second reporter pressed him on that claim, citing numerous videos and photos that appeared to disprove that assertion, prompting Biden to claim he misunderstood the questions.

“The question was, how can they get through to the airport outside the airport? And the answer is the best of our knowledge,” he responded. “The Taliban checkpoints, they are letting through people showing American passports. Now, that’s a different question, when they get into the rush and crowd of all the folks just outside the wall near the airport.”

“It is a process to try to figure out how we deal with the mad rush of non-Americans,” Biden concluded.

You can watch Biden’s full remarks and answers to reporters’ questions below.

Author: Christian Datoc

Source: Washington Examiner: Biden: White House maintaining ‘constant contact’ with Taliban throughout evacuation