On Wednesday, Fox News White House reporter Peter Doocy asked White House press secretary Jen Psaki why the Biden administration is considering recognizing the Taliban government in Afghanistan, after reports that known terrorists are now leading the country.
The exchange took place during Wednesday’s White House press briefing.
On September 1, Psaki said that some type of engagement with the Taliban would be necessary but said that the U.S. was in “no rush” to recognize the new Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan.
The new Taliban interior minister, Sirajuddin Haqqani, is the son of the founder of the Haqqani Network, which is on the U.S.’s terrorist list. He has long been one of the FBI’s Most Wanted.
Doocy asked Psaki on Wednesday, “There are now more terrorists wanted by the FBI in the new Afghan government than there are women. Does the president think that is a foreign policy success?”
Psaki replied, “First of all, no one in this administration, not [President Joe Biden] or anyone on the national security team would suggest that the Taliban are respected and valued members of the global community.”
“They have not earned that in any way and we have never assessed that,” Psaki added.
She continued, “This is a caretaker cabinet that does include four former imprisoned Taliban fighters. We have not validated that, we have not conveyed we are going to recognize it.”
The “four former imprisoned Taliban fighters” referenced by Psaki were actually prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, who were released by President Barack Obama in exchange for U.S. Army deserter Bowe Bergdahl.
“What we are working to do is to engage with them because they oversee and control Afghanistan right now to get American citizens, legal permanent residents and applicants out of Afghanistan,” Psaki said.
“We have to engage with them,” the press secretary insisted.
“Engage with them? Their new acting interior minister is a Haqqani Network terrorist,” Doocy responded.
Doocy continued, “He’s wanted for a bombing that killed six people including an American, he’s believed to have participated in cross-border attacks against U.S. troops, there’s a $10 million dollar bounty on his head.”
“Why are we engaging?” Doocy queried.
Psaki responded, “Should we not talk to the people who are overseeing Afghanistan and just leave it and not get the rest of the American citizens out?”
“What are you waiting for them to do?” Doocy followed up. “They just formed their government. Are you waiting for something — you’re saying that we’re not going to rush to recognition; that means that there could be recognition.”
Psaki replied, “As we’ve said many times, the international community is watching, the United States is watching.”
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