Secretary of State Antony Blinken turned his back on reporters following a press briefing on Monday evening who were asking him about the hundreds of American citizens that have been abandoned in Afghanistan.
Blinken quickly exited the press conference as a reporter shouted, “Did this administration break its word that no American would be left behind?”
Blinken turns his back on reporters and refuses to answer questions about abandoning American citizens. pic.twitter.com/QsJGGEqmrw
— Ian Miles Cheong @ stillgray.substack.com (@stillgray) August 30, 2021
During his roughly 17-minute speech, Blinken said that the Biden administration would “lead with our diplomacy” as they work with Taliban terrorists to get hundreds of Americans out of the country that the administration failed to evacuate.
Blinken claimed that “about 6000 [Americans] have been evacuated, or otherwise departed” from Afghanistan, even though the Department of Defense put the number closer to 5,400 earlier in the day.
“We will hold the Taliban to its pledge to let people freely depart Afghanistan,” Blinken claimed. “The Taliban is committed to let anyone with proper documents leave the country in a safe and orderly manner. They said this privately and publicly many times. On Friday, a senior Taliban official said it again on television and radio. And I quote, ‘any Afghans may leave the country, including those who work for Americans if they want and for whatever reason there may be.’”
“The Taliban has made a commitment to prevent terrorist groups from using Afghanistan as a base for external operations that could threaten the United States or our allies, including al Qaeda, and the Taliban sworn enemy, ISIS-K,” Blinken claimed. “Here, too, we will hold them accountable to that commitment. But while we have expectations of the Taliban, that doesn’t mean we will rely on the Taliban. We’ll remain vigilant in monitoring threats ourselves. And we’ll maintain robust counterterrorism capabilities in the region to neutralize those threats if necessary, as we demonstrated in the past few days, by striking ISIS facilitators and imminent threats in Afghanistan.”
Blinken claimed that the Taliban “seeks international legitimacy and support,” adding that the administration’s message was that “any legitimacy, and any support will have to be earned.”
“The Taliban can do that, by meeting commitments and obligations on freedom of travel, respecting the basic rights of the Afghan people, including women and minorities, upholding its commitments on counterterrorism, not carrying out reprisal violence against those who choose to stay in Afghanistan, and forming an inclusive government that can meet the needs and reflect the aspirations of the Afghan people,” Blinken said.
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