White House says 'no rush' to recognize newly announced Taliban government in Afghanistan

Many still stuck in Afghanistan as Taliban begins to put together their own government

Fox News correspondent Trey Yingst has the latest on Americans stuck in Afghanistan and the Taliban’s efforts to form a government in Afghanistan on ‘Special Report’

The White House on Tuesday said there is “no rush” to recognize the Taliban as the official government of Afghanistan, saying that recognition from the U.S. will be “dependent” on their actions, as the group announced the formation of its new government. 

Press secretary Jen Psaki, during a gaggle to reporters aboard Air Force One Tuesday, was asked about when the Biden administration to recognize the Taliban. 

“There’s no rush to recognition, and that will be planned dependent on what steps the Taliban takes,” Psaki said. “The world will be watching whether they allow for American citizens, whether they allow individuals to leave who want to, and how they treat women and girls around the country.” 

She added: “I don’t have a timeline for you.” 

Psaki’s comments come after President Biden, on Monday, said recognition of the Taliban government was “a long way off.” 

“That’s a long way off,” he said again. 

A Taliban spokesperson on Monday said that positions within the government are now in an “acting capacity,” but said that many members of the old guard are part of the new government. 

The government, according to a report by the BBC, will be led by Mullah Mohammad Hassan Akhund, with Taliban co-founder Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar as deputy. Other appointments include Mullah Yaqoob as acting defense minister and Mullah Abdul Salam Hanafi as a second deputy. 

Sarajuddin Haqqani, the new acting interior minister, is the head of the militant group known as Haqqani Network. 

Not one woman was named as part of its new government, despite demands for “inclusivity.” 

As for those who are seeking to leave Afghanistan, a Taliban spokesperson said individuals have not been able to leave if they do not have proper documentation, but said that the creation of the new government would help to better facilitate departures. 

“Regarding the flights, they have to obey our law,” Zabijullah Mujahid, the Taliban spokesman, said. “They have to have proper documents and if they don’t have documents, we will not allow them to go.” 

He explained that individuals “have to have passports, have to have visas, and we have to have an exit stamp on their passports–from now, we’ve had nothing.” 

“Tomorrow, on, we will definitely restart the work of departments and then people will be able to travel abroad,” he said. “So, the next few days, people will be able to travel abroad.” 

The Biden administration, last week, removed all U.S. troops and military assets from Afghanistan, after having a presence in the region for 20 years. The U.S. military engaged in a historic evacuation mission, moving more than 124,000 individuals – including American citizens and Afghan allies – to safety. 

When U.S. troops were officially withdrawn from Afghanistan on Aug. 31, the Biden administration said its mission had transitioned from a military mission, to a diplomatic one, as hundreds of Americans still remained in Afghanistan. 

Psaki, on Tuesday, said that, at this point, there are “just under” 100 Americans left in Afghanistan. The State Department, on Monday, touted the safe evacuation of four American citizens from the country.

“We’re in touch with American citizens and are working to get them out,” Psaki said, adding that Secretary of State Antony Blinken is in Qatar “working on a range of options,” including getting flights up and operational. 

Meanwhile, the State Department on Monday said that the U.S. is working “quickly and with precision” to ensure U.S. citizens and “at-risk Afghan civilians” are able to reach their ultimate destinations “safely and efficiently.”

The State Department added that “dedicated intelligence, law enforcement, and counterterrorism professionals from the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Defense, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the National Counterterrorism Center, and additional Intelligence Community partners, are working around the clock to expedite the processing and vetting of Afghans before they are allowed into the United States. This includes reviews of both biographic and biometric data.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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