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It’s a fair question to ask considering the contradictory statements coming from President Biden and his cabinet.
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin told lawmakers Friday that Americans trying to leave Afghanistan have been beaten by Taliban fighters.
“Austin’s remarks to House members appeared to directly contradict President Joe Biden’s assessment from minutes earlier, in which Biden said the U.S. was not aware of Americans having trouble getting through Taliban checkpoints and to the airport in Kabul — the only evacuation point in the country that is not controlled by the Taliban,” Politico reported.
During the briefing call, Austin called the reports of Taliban beatings “unacceptable,” but did not elaborate on efforts to ensure Americans’ safe passage to Hamid Karzai International Airport in Afghanistan’s capital city.
“We’re also aware that some people, including Americans, have been harassed and even beaten by the Taliban,” Austin said on the call, according to multiple sources. “This is unacceptable and [we] made it clear to the designated Taliban leader.”
Those statements stand in stark contrast to assertions that the president made during a press conference earlier Friday.
“To the best of our knowledge, the Taliban checkpoints, they are letting through people showing American passports,” Biden said, adding that “we know of no circumstance where American citizens, carrying an American passport,” were being blocked from reaching the airport.
“We have no indication that they haven’t been able to get in Kabul through the airport. We’ve made an agreement with with the Taliban thus far,” the president said.
Former President Donald Trump accused Biden of “an unforgivable dereliction of duty” as a result of the disastrous, chaotic withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan.
“Leaving Americans behind for death is an unforgivable dereliction of duty, which will go down in infamy,” Trump said in a statement shared Friday by spokeswoman Liz Harrington on Twitter.