US President Joe Biden would not be okay if the Taliban ruled Afghanistan, the White House has said, underlining that there is an ongoing process of considering the next steps to ensure peace in the war-torn country.
“I don’t think he would say he’d be okay with that,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters on Tuesday when asked if Biden is okay with the Taliban ruling Afghanistan.
“But again, there’s an ongoing process of considering the next steps in Afghanistan. That’s an ongoing discussion, and I’m not going to get ahead of where that sits at this point in time,” Psaki said.
Separately, Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said that defence secretary Lloyd Austin has been in constant communication with Afghan partners about the ongoing review process and how they are working their way through that.
“We are mindful of looming deadlines here and everybody shares the sense of alacrity when it comes to working our way through this review but we want to do it in a thoughtful, deliberate way, to make sure that whatever decisions are made, they’re the best ones, that are in our best national security interests and certainly the security interests of our allies and partners, and that includes the Afghan people,” he said.
Meanwhile, during a Congressional hearing General (rtd) Joseph F Dunford, former chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, told lawmakers that Talban gets its financial support from drug trade.
“We know that the Taliban have had sanctuary in Pakistan. We know that they have an active diplomatic effort travelling to Moscow, travelling to Beijing, travelling to other countries. We know they travel in the Gulf. We know Iran has provided some material support,” he said.
The US and the Taliban reached an agreement in February 2020 that called for a permanent ceasefire, peace negotiations between the Taliban and the Afghan government, and a withdrawal of all foreign forces by May 1. There are about 2,500 US troops currently in the country.