In his interview with George Stephanopoulos of ABC News, President Biden stated that the Taliban was “going through sort of an existential crisis” as to whether they wanted to be recognized by the world as a legitimate government.
Stephanopoulos asked, “What happens now in Afghanistan? Do you believe the Taliban have changed?”
“No. I think — let me put it this way,” Biden answered. “I think they’re going through sort of an existential crisis about do they want to be recognized by the international community as being a legitimate government. I’m not sure they do. But look, they have —”
“They care about their beliefs more?” Stephanopoulos suggested.
“Well, they do,” Biden allowed. “But they also care about whether they have food to eat, whether they have an income that can make any money and run an economy. They care about whether or not they can hold together the society that they, in fact, say they care so much about. I’m not counting on any of that, but that is part of what I think is going on right now in terms of I– I’m not sure I would’ve predicted, George, nor would you or anyone else, that when we decided to leave, that they’d provide safe passage for Americans to get out.”
The American Psychological Association defines an “existential crisis” as variously “a crucial stage or turning point at which an individual is faced with finding meaning and purpose in life and taking responsibility for his or her choices” and “any psychological or moral crisis that causes an individual to ask fundamental questions about human existence.”
One would surmise from Biden’s characterization of the Taliban having an “existential crisis” that he believes the group that has a history of violently subjugating women might reconsider such a position in order to be welcomed on the international stage. The State Department wrote in 2001 regarding the Taliban’s history with women when they ruled Afghanistan between 1996-2001:
Under Taliban rule, women were given only the most rudimentary access to health care and medical care, thereby endangering the health of women, and in turn, their families. In most hospitals, male physicians could only examine a female patient if she were fully clothed, ruling out the possibility of meaningful diagnosis and treatment. These Taliban regulations led to a lack of adequate medical care for women and contributed to increased suffering and higher mortality rates. …
In May 2001, the Taliban raided and temporarily closed a foreign-funded hospital in Kabul because male and female staff allegedly mixed in the dining room and operating wards. It is significant to note that approximately 70% of health services had been provided by international relief organizations — further highlighting the Taliban’s general disregard for the welfare of the Afghan people.
In the face of Biden’s protestations that the Taliban was considering changing their ways, The Daily Wire reported on Wednesday, “Photos emerged on Tuesday showing women and children in Afghanistan bloodied and unconscious after they became victims of Taliban attacks.”