Fox News White House correspondent Peter Doocy challenged press secretary Jen Psaki on a White House statement referring to the Taliban as “businesslike and professional.”
Doocy noted during Thursday’s press briefing that the new Taliban government included an interior minister who had his own FBI ‘Wanted’ poster and a $10 million bounty on his head, and he asked how that qualified as “businesslike” or “professional.” (RELATED: ‘Do You Think We Will Have More Leverage With No Troops?’: Doocy Presses Psaki On Getting Americans Out After Deadline)
“Can you explain a little bit more about why the White House, in a statement, is calling the Taliban businesslike and professional?” Doocy asked, referencing a statement following the first commercial flights allowed to leave Kabul carrying American citizens and allies.
White House offers praise for Taliban in allowing first commercial flight out of Kabul with more than 110 people looking to leave Afghanistan: “They have shown flexibility, and they have been businesslike and professional in our dealings with them.”
— Dion Nissenbaum (@DionNissenbaum) September 9, 2021
Psaki said that the statement was aimed at letting the American people know a flight had left Afghanistan and acknowledging the fact that the Taliban had cooperated and facilitated the move.
“We promised we would get American citizens out, we promised we would get legal permanent residents out, we promised to get our Afghan partners out and we promised to press the Taliban to get them out and that’s exactly what we did,” she said.
“But you’re saying the Taliban is businesslike and professional. Their Interior Minister has an FBI wanted poster. He’s got a $10 million bounty on his head, that’s — what’s the business?” Doocy asked.
“We are here to celebrate the return of American citizens who wanted to leave Afghanistan, of legal permanent residents, of Afghans who fought by our side to Qatar,” Psaki replied, adding that in order to make that flight happen, American officials had coordinated with the Taliban.
“To get them out we had to work with some members of the Taliban, to press them and to work in a businesslike manner to get them out,” she continued.
Doocy pushed back, noting that the statement had also called the flight a “positive first step” and asking what that step was moving toward.
“Towards getting additional people out who want to leave Afghanistan,” Psaki replied.