Pentagon’s John Kirby won’t say whether military views Taliban as ‘enemies’

the The main spokesman for the Pentagon declined to say Thursday whether the U.S. military considered the The Taliban will become enemies United States, as Washington forces struggle to secure thousands of Americans and Afghans out of Kabul in a matter of days.

“We are focused right now, what we are working against now is time and space,” John Kirby told Fox News “Special Report” in response to host Bret Baier’s question, “and we want to get so many people from Kabul. as we can in the shortest amount of time. We have had no hostile interactions at this time between US forces and the Taliban and we want to keep it that way. “

Since Islamic fundamentalist forces entered the Afghan capital on Sunday, senior military and security officials from the Biden administration have presented the militants as a reasonable, if not equal, partner in withdrawing US troops from the country ravaged by war.

On Tuesday, national security adviser Jake Sullivan told reporters at the White House that the Taliban “have informed us that they are prepared to provide safe passage of civilians to the airport, and we intend to keep them in that commitment. “When asked if he believed in that safety, Sullivan simply replied,” yes. “

A Taliban militant patrols Kandahar, Afghanistan, on August 19, 2021.
STRINGER / EPA-EFE / Shutterstock

At the beginning of his interview on Thursday, Kirby insisted that “we have not seen major impediments to the safe passage that the Taliban have agreed to facilitate. The Americans are going through those checkpoints and they are arriving at the base, the airfield, and they are taking them out of Kabul by plane. “

However, reports from the Afghan capital indicate that Taliban fighters are assaulting and beating anyone who tries to pass the checkpoints surrounding Hamid Karzai International Airport. Meanwhile, the State Department has told US citizens in Kabul that it cannot guarantee their safety if they try to travel to the airport.

President Joe Biden estimated Wednesday that between 10,000 and 15,000 Americans remain in Taliban territory, along with between 50,000 and 65,000 Afghans who worked with US-led forces during the two-decade conflict and fear. revenge of the taliban.

Afghan people sit on a US military plane in Kabul waiting to evacuate the country on August 19, 2021.
Afghans on a US military plane in Kabul waiting to be evacuated on August 19, 2021.
Photo by SHAKIB RAHMANI / AFP via Getty Images

Rebecca Heller, director of the US-based International Refugee Assistance Project, told the Associated Press on Wednesday that she had been informed of five Afghan translators killed by the Taliban in the past two days for their previous work with Americans.

However, it is not only Afghans struggling to get into the airport to take evacuation flights. David Marshall Fox, an American who moved to Afghanistan in 2013, told The Post on Thursday He had given up on boarding an evacuation flight, saying the danger of the Taliban shooting his son or trampling him by the crowd was not worth it.

“I am extremely frustrated, because no one is going to take any Americans out until they can control the gates,” Fox said, adding that “for me to be within 10 feet of the US Marines. With my 3-year-old son. , with my US passport and not being able to pass, that is problematic. “

State Department spokesman Ned Price told reporters Tuesday that 6,000 people at the airport had already been processed and were expected to be on evacuation flights soon.

Pentagon officials have estimated that 5,000 to 9,000 people can fly per day if the airport’s operations are at full capacity. However, Price said only 7,000 had flown in total since Saturday.

With pole cables

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