Fox News White House correspondent Peter Doocy pressed White House press secretary Jen Psaki during a Wednesday press briefing on why the Biden administration is considering recognizing the Taliban government in Afghanistan, which includes a U.S.-designated terrorist.
The White House has suggested some level of engagement with the Taliban will be necessary, though Psaki told reporters Sept. 1 that the administration is in “no rush” to recognize the new Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan. The State Department dodged questions at a separate Sept. 1 briefing about whether or not the administration will recognize the Taliban government.
Sirajuddin Haqqani, the new Taliban interior minister, is the son of the founder of the Haqqani Network, designated as a foreign terrorist organization by the U.S. He is also one of the FBI’s most wanted men due to his involvement in suicide attacks and ties with al-Qaida.
“There are now more terrorists wanted by the FBI in the new Afghan government than there are women. Does the president think that is a foreign policy success?” Doocy asked.
“First of all, no one in this administration, not [President Joe Biden] or anyone on the national security team would suggest that the Taliban are respected and valued members of the global community. They have not earned that in any way and we have never assessed that,” Psaki responded.
“This is a caretaker cabinet that does include four former imprisoned Taliban fighters. We have not validated that, we have not conveyed we are going to recognize it,” she continued. “What we are working to do is to engage with them because they oversee and control Afghanistan right now to get American citizens, legal permanent residents and [Special Immigrant Visa] applicants out of Afghanistan. We have to engage with them.”
“Engage with them? Their new acting interior minister is a Haqqani Network terrorist,” Doocy shot back. “He’s wanted for a bombing that killed six people including an American, he’s believed to have participated in cross-border attacks against U.S. troops, there’s a $10 million dollar bounty on his head. Why are we engaging?” (RELATED: Here’s What The Taliban’s Sharia Law Means For Human Rights, And The Violations Have Already Started)
“Should we not talk to the people who are overseeing Afghanistan and just leave it and not get the rest of the American citizens out?” Psaki said in response.
“What are you waiting for them to do? They just formed their government. Are you waiting for something — you’re saying that we’re not going to rush to recognition; that means that there could be recognition,” said Doocy.
“As we’ve said many times, the international community is watching, the United States is watching,” Psaki responded. “It’s whether they let people depart the country who want to depart, whether they treat women across the country as they have committed to treat them and how they behave and operate — and therefore we are not moving toward recognition.”
“At the same time, we are dealing with a reality world where we have to engage to get American citizens and others out of the country,” she concluded.