‘It is laborious to place a label on it’: Jake Sullivan declines to name Taliban an enemy

President Joe Biden’s nationwide safety adviser stated, “it’s laborious to place a label on it,” when requested whether or not the Taliban are enemies of america.

Jake Sullivan appeared on MSNBC on Tuesday, when he was requested to outline America’s relationship with the Taliban, together with whether or not they had been now a “frenemy,” an adversary, or an enemy.

“Effectively, it’s laborious to place a label on it, partly, as a result of we’ve got but to see what they will be now that they’re in management — bodily management of Afghanistan,” Sullivan stated. “They’ll, within the coming days, announce a authorities. That authorities goes to go round looking for diplomatic engagement, even recognition from different international locations, together with america. In reality, the Taliban spokesman right this moment stated he was on the lookout for constructive relations on behalf of the Taliban, particularly with america.”

Sullivan added: “We’re not simply going to grant constructive relations to the Taliban. They’re going to need to earn the whole lot from the worldwide group by actions, not phrases. That begins with protected passage for People and Afghan allies, and that additionally consists of them residing as much as their counterterrorism commitments, together with that Afghanistan can by no means once more be used as a base with which to assault america or our allies.”


The U.S. has labeled the Taliban a specifically designated world terrorist group, however the Afghan Taliban are notably not designated as a overseas terrorist group, although its Haqqani community and al Qaeda allies are , in addition to its Pakistani counterpart, Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan.

The Taliban gave al Qaeda protected haven in Afghanistan for years earlier than the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist assaults and continued to guard Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda after the U.S. invasion in late 2001. The Taliban and al Qaeda fought alongside one another within the now-successful insurgency in opposition to the U.S. in Afghanistan, the place greater than 2,400 U.S. service members had been killed .

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The Taliban’s prime spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid, falsely claimed final week there may be “no proof” bin Laden was behind 9/11.

CENTCOM Commander Gen. Frank McKenzie described the U.S. evacuation effort on Monday, saying: “We had gone from cooperating on safety with a longtime companion and ally to initiating a practical relationship of necessity with a longtime enemy. … The Taliban had been very — very pragmatic and really business-like as we’ve got approached this withdrawal.”

He added: “I am unable to foresee the way in which future coordination between us would go. I would go away that for — for some future date. I’ll merely say that they needed us out. We needed to get out with our individuals and with our — and with our pals and companions. And so for that quick time period, our points — our view of the world was congruent, it was the identical.”

Sullivan cited Mckenzie’s remarks and stated Tuesday the Taliban have “been business-like of their method with us, not as a result of they’re good guys — they’re not — however as a result of they’ve had an curiosity together with us to make that evacuation mission run easily” and that “going ahead, I feel they’ll have an curiosity in responding to our requests as a result of we’ve got an unlimited quantity of leverage over them.”

Administration officers have all emphasised the “leverage” they imagine the U.S. has over the Taliban.

Biden stated Tuesday he believed between 100 and 200 People who had needed to get out of Afghanistan had been left behind.

Rep. Michael McCaul, rating member on Home Overseas Affairs, Rep. Mike Rogers, rating member on Home Armed Companies, and Rep. Devin Nunes, rating member on Home Intelligence, had been clear that they believed the Taliban are an “enemy” of the U.S. in a letter despatched to Sullivan this week, wherein they lamented that “the administration is relying upon a sworn enemy of america” to get People out of Afghanistan and stated that they’re “skeptical the Taliban might be relied upon to help any post-retrograde repatriations.”

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Dr. Amin al Haq, bin Laden’s safety chief on the battle of Tora Bora, the place the al Qaeda chief escaped U.S. bombardment, publicly returned to Afghanistan this week in a video the place he was accompanied by a convoy of Taliban fighters.

A Home GOP aide advised the Washington Examiner that Home Armed Companies Committee Republicans filed dozens of amendments to the Nationwide Protection Authorization Act in on the lookout for solutions associated to the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, together with trying to require the Biden administration to designate the Taliban as a overseas terrorist group and limiting any U.S. tax {dollars} from going to them.

Republican Examine Chairman Rep. Jim Banks stated that “designating the Taliban will make it simpler to dam materials help and technical help to the group by each People, in addition to by Russia and China.”

The so-called peace settlement between the U.S. and the Taliban, signed  in February 2020 in the course of the Trump administration, stated the U.S. was “dedicated to withdraw from Afghanistan all army forces” inside 14 months, whereas the Taliban would “forestall any group or particular person, together with al-Qaeda, from utilizing the soil of Afghanistan to threaten the safety of america and its allies.”

The Taliban, the Haqqani community, and al Qaeda are deeply intertwined in Afghanistan, and the Taliban have built-in Haqqani community leaders and fighters with al Qaeda hyperlinks into their command construction.

The State Division insists that the Haqqanis and Taliban are “separate entities,” however Anas Haqqani, Sirajuddin Haqqani’s brother, bluntly stated over the weekend: “We’re the Taliban.”

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