State Dept. Official Says US Won’t Take Taliban ‘At Their Word’ Despite Outsourcing Kabul Security

Screenshot via C-Span

Michael Ginsberg Congressional Correspondent
Font Size:

Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland claimed that the U.S. will not take the Taliban “at their word” in dealings with the terrorist group.

“We are not going to take them at their word, we are going to take them at their deeds. So they have a lot to prove, based on their old track record. Now, they also have a lot to gain if they can run Afghanistan far, far differently than they did the last time they were in power,” Nuland said at a Wednesday press conference.

U.S. military, diplomatic and intelligence officials reportedly entrusted the Taliban with a list of names of Americans and Afghans that they expected to be allowed in to Hamid Karzai International Airport (HKIA), and allowed the group to control security outside HKIA. Secretary of State Antony Blinken confirmed to NBC that the U.S. government gave Taliban security officials a manifest including the names of bus passengers, but denied that the U.S. “put anyone in any further jeopardy.” (RELATED: Former Army Captain Accuses US Government Of Giving Taliban ‘A Kill List,’ Says Courier Was Shot Moving US Citizens)

Taliban fighters have already begun killing American allies and other opponents, according to multiple reports. Many Special Immigrant Visa holders have been forced into hiding.

The co-founder of the Taliban, Abdul Ghani Baradar, reportedly offered the U.S. military the choice to take control of Kabul when Afghan president Ashraf Ghani fled the country. However, U.S. military officials rejected the offer, leading to the Taliban taking over the city.

“They have said that they want to be welcomed into the international community,” Nuland continued. “Well, we set that standard in the UNSC [United Nations Security Council] resolution on Monday, and it is now up to them to form a government and manage the country in a manner that lives up to those standards.”

The UNSC resolution called on the Taliban to allows Afghans to leave the country should they wish to do so. Members of the group were accused of beating Americans and Afghans who attempted to evacuate from HKIA.

Press secretary Jen Psaki claimed Aug. 27 that questions about whether or not the U.S. trusts the Taliban are a “semantic debate.”