On Tuesday, when asked by MSNBC’s Nicolle Wallace whether the Taliban was an enemy of the United States, President Biden’s National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan replied, “It’s hard to put a label on it.”
Wallace asked, “Just on those lines, what is the Taliban? Are they now our frenemy? Are they our adversary? Are they our enemy? Are they our — what are they?”
“Well, it’s hard to put a label on it, in part because we have yet to see what they are going to be now that they are in control, physical control of Afghanistan,” Sullivan replied.
“They will in the coming days, announce a government,” he continued. “That government is gonna go around seeking diplomatic engagement, even recognition from other countries, including the United States. In fact, the Taliban spokesman today said he was looking for positive relations on behalf of the Taliban, especially with the United States.”
“We’re not going to just grant positive relations to the Taliban; they ae going to have to earn everything from the international community through actions, not words,” he protested. “That begins with safe passage for Americans and Afghan allies and that also includes them living up to their counter-terrorism commitments including that Afghanistan can never again be used for a base from which to attack the United States or our allies again.”
Just prior to that exchange, Sullivan stated, “General McKenzie said last night, they’ve been businesslike in their approach with us, not because they’re nice guys, they’re not, but because they’ve had an interest along with us to make that evacuation mission run smoothly. Going forward, I think they’ll have an interest in responding to our request because we have an enormous amount of leverage over them; we intend to use that leverage to keep getting people out.”
As far as holding leverage over the Taliban, speaking at Monday’s White House press briefing, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki, asked if Americans were less safe now because of American weaponry now in the hands of the Taliban, answered, “We have an enormous amount of leverage, including access to the global marketplace.”
NBC News’ Alexander asked, “So I guess the plain and simple question is acknowledging that you’re gonna try to limit what access they do have to some of the weaponry in ways that you can’t communicate here. But at the end of the day whether it’s not the United States that’s under risk as a function of this, are Americans around the globe, are Western interests now more at risk because the Taliban has new access to all this weaponry?”
“Well, again, Peter, I would say that the world will be watching; we have an enormous amount of leverage, including access to the global marketplace, which is not a small piece of leverage to the Taliban, who are now overseeing large swaths of Afghanistan,” Psaki answered.
Alexander asked bluntly, “Is the United States more or less safe today than we were before the Taliban took over?”
“Well, again, we are not going to do anything that’s going to allow terrorists to grow or prosper in Afghanistan or any terrorist organization,” Psaki boasted.
Video of Sullivan below:
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