Harris Faulkner grills Pentagon spokesman: 'Are we still relying on the Taliban?'

Pentagon spokesperson dodges question on whether US is still working with Taliban

Harris Faulkner pressed Press Secretary Admiral John Kirby during ‘The Faulkner Focus’ on whether the U.S. is still relying on the Taliban to help secure the release of stranded Americans and allies.

“The Faulkner Focus” host Harris Faulkner pressed Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby on whether the United States continues to work with the Taliban amid the effort to secure the release of Americans and allies from Afghanistan.

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“Are we still relying on the Taliban?” she asked.

“This isn’t about relying on the Taliban,” Admiral Kirby told Faulkner when asked about whether American officials are still relying on the group to facilitate the departures. 

“This is about working with these aid groups and helping identify people that need to get out of Afghanistan and getting them out,” he continued. 

Faulkner pressed the admiral again for clarification, but received no clear answer. 

“These people are still getting out,” Admiral Kirby stated. “And look, we know, we know we have work to do. And here is the Department of Defense, we know we have a moral obligation here… This isn’t about relying or working with the Taliban.”

A Taliban fighter secures the area  as people queue to receive cash at a money distribution organized by the World Food Program (WFP) in Kabul, Afghanistan, on Wednesday , Nov. 17, 2021. (AP Photo/ Petros Giannakouris)
(AP Photo/ Petros Giannakouris)

According to a December press release, the State Department claims it has helped hundreds of Americans and permanent residents leave Afghanistan since the bloody withdrawal back in August. 

There are, however, a handful of people still wanting to escape according to the same press release. 

Meanwhile, the State Department has ordered American citizens to leave Ukraine, issuing a “do not travel warning” earlier this week as a potential Russian-led invasion looms. 

Eligible family members of those working in the American embassy have also been ordered depart the country. 

Harris pressed Kirby on the matter, asking him about Americans in Ukraine ahead of a potential Russian invasion.

“Could there be a measure of concern that once the Americans pull out, we’ll look like Afghanistan?” she asked.

“We’ve been nothing but transparent about the hazards that we see two American citizens staying in Ukraine, and that’s been very, very clear. This is not the same situation as Afghanistan. And again, I think the State Department has done a commendable job, making very clear and making transparent what our concerns are inside Ukraine,” he said, adding that “no one is talking about pulling out of Ukraine” but it would be “irresponsible” not to warn Americans in the country. 

There are 8,500 American troops on high-alert over the heightening crisis ready to deploy if necessary. 

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