Joe Biden: ‘We’re in Constant Contact with the Taliban’

A Taliban fighter talks on a walkie-talkie in front of a mural in Kabul on August 17, 2021, as the Taliban moved quickly to restart the Afghan capital following their stunning takeover of Kabul and told government staff to return to work. (Photo by WAKIL KOHSAR / AFP) (Photo by …
WAKIL KOHSAR/AFP via Getty, Insert/JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty

President Joe Biden said on Friday his administration is in “constant contact with the Taliban” and claimed to be focused on getting Americans out of the country, although he said he cannot promise that it will come “without risk of loss.” This is despite his assertion that his administration warned the jihadist organization that any attack on U.S. forces, or disruption of U.S. operations at the airport, will be met with a “swift and forceful response.”

“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,” Biden said during Friday’s press conference on the escalating situation in Afghanistan following the Taliban’s takeover of Kabul.

“We’re particularly focused on our engagements on making sure every American who wants to leave can get to the airport. Where we have seen challenges for Americans, we have thus far been able to resolve them,” he claimed.

“We’ve been able – we made – look. 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 said.

Taliban fighters patrol in Wazir Akbar Khan neighborhood in the city of Kabul, Afghanistan, Wednesday, Aug. 18, 2021. The Taliban declared an "amnesty" across Afghanistan and urged women to join their government Tuesday, seeking to convince a wary population that they have changed a day after deadly chaos gripped the main airport as desperate crowds tried to flee the country. (AP Photo/Rahmat Gul)

Taliban fighters patrol in Wazir Akbar Khan neighborhood in the city of Kabul, Afghanistan, Wednesday, August 18, 2021. (AP Photo/Rahmat Gul)

“We’re also keeping 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 said, identifying them as the “sworn enemy” of the Taliban and promising a “laser focus” on the counterterrorism mission.

During the address, Biden suggested that thousands have been evacuated on private charter flights, noting that the volume of people includes non-U.S. citizens. He also said they paused flights in Kabul this morning merely “to make sure we could process the arriving evacuees at the transit points.”

While he claimed there were around 5,700 evacuees on Thursday, Biden said they are trying to verify the numbers of Americans who remain as his State Department failed to answer the question on Thursday. The 78-year-old president said they are seeking to get a “strong” figure.

Biden also appeared to contradict himself, vowing to do “everything” to provide safe evacuation to Afghans and pledging that “any American who wants to come home, we will get you home. ”

President Joe Biden speaks about the ongoing US military evacuations of US citizens and vulnerable Afghans, in the East Room of the White House in Washington, DC, on August 20, 2021. (Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP via Getty Images)

However, he said evacuation efforts are  “dangerous” and added that he cannot promise what the final outcome will be or that it will come “without risk of loss.”

The White House called a lid shortly after the press conference.


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