White House press secretary Jen Psaki sparred with Fox News reporter Peter Doocy after he pressed her on whether or not the United States would continue to work with the Taliban after an ISIS-K suicide bombing left 13 American service members dead.
“I’m not trying to sugar coat what we think of the Taliban. They are not a group we trust,” Psaki said when asked by Doocy how the United States can continue to work with the Taliban after a suicide bomber made it through one of their security checkpoints at the Kabul airport. “They are not our friends.”
Psaki added that working with the Taliban has resulted in the evacuation of 104,000 people, which in essence, she says, saved 104,000 lives.
“That coordination is necessary in order to continue our evacuation measures,” Psaki said.
“Does the president really think that they are going to be reliable partners if we’re already getting reports that they aren’t letting Afghans into the airport?” Doocy asked.
“Again, this is not about trust, this is not about the Taliban,” Psaki said. She reiterated that cooperating with the Taliban has resulted in the evacuation of a large number of people. “We have to coordinate with them in order to get people out.”
“We have an enormous amount of leverage,” Psaki added. “That includes economic leverage… that we will make clear to the Taliban.”
Psaki was addressing reporters on the same day that 13 American service members – 12 Marines, and one Navy corpsman – were killed in a suicide bombing at a chokepoint entrance to the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul.
ISIS-K, a terrorist group centered in Afghanistan, has claimed responsibility for the attack.
“We will hunt you down and make you pay,” Biden said about the attackers in a press conference Thursday.
Biden is facing calls for his resignation over the attack and the overall handling of the withdrawal, including from multiple members of Congress.
Republicans Sen. Josh Hawley, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, Rep. Lauren Boebert, Sen. Marsha Blackburn, and others have called for Biden to either be impeached or step down.