ABC’s Raddatz Calls Out Blinken Telling Americans to 'Trust' Taliban for Safety


As much as they claimed it wasn’t, the Biden administration’s “plan” to get trapped Americans and allies out of Afghanistan was to “trust” the Taliban with their lives. And during an interview on ABC’s This Week on Sunday, fill-in host Martha Raddatz went toe-to-toe with Secretary of State Antony Blinken over the fact that their only plan after August 31 was to tell those people to trust terrorists or march through the mountains and desert until they reached another country.

After establishing the fact that President Biden was committed to abandoning Americans and allies in a terrorist safe haven, Raddatz grilled Blinken on how the administration wanted them to try to escape. “So, how do you realistically think any American citizens or Afghan partners who are left behind will be able to fly out? What would you say to them on how to get out,” she demanded to know.

Blinken’s go-to answer was to spout off about some assurances “a very senior Taliban leader” gave on the TV and radio. But Raddatz wasn’t having any of that nonsense:

BLINKEN: Martha, a few things. First, just about 24 hours ago a very senior Taliban leader spoke on television and on the radio throughout Afghanistan and repeatedly assured the Afghan people that they would be free to travel after August 31, and he —

RADDATZ: But Secretary Blinken, they do not trust them. I know you say you don’t trust the Taliban, but now you’re telling me we should trust what the Taliban said. Those people are in hiding.

BLINKEN: No, I’m not saying that, Martha. I’m not saying we should trust the Taliban on anything. I’m simply reporting what one of their senior leaders said to the Afghan people. He specifically cited as well those who worked for Americans and any other Afghan for whatever reason. So that’s point one.

 

 

You’re trying to reassure our Afghan allies. They’re not reassured,” she shot back. “Those interpreters who aren’t getting out, they’re not reassured by a statement like that. So, what more can you tell them to get out, how to get out?

The Secretary defaulted to bloviating about how the international community had very strong “expectations” that the Taliban would allow people the “freedom of travel” from the country, and if they didn’t, Americans could just run to the border. “That’s a very dangerous trip,” Raddatz pointed out.

In the follow-up interview, Raddatz brought on Nebraska Republican Senator Ben Sasse and teed him up to take down Blinken. “They are not moving that deadline which likely means there will likely be people left behind. How do you think these Afghans and American citizens will get out,” she asked.

Sasse immediately declared Blinken’s answers “disgusting” and added: “the American people have a right to be livid about it.” He then proceeded to dress down President Biden for not having a plan except to “rely on happy talk” and for giving a kill list of American and ally names to the Taliban:

There has been no plan. Their plan has basically been happy talk. People have died and people are going to die because President Biden decided to rely on happy talk instead of reality, and so they decided to outsource security around the perimeter airport to the Taliban.

They passed a list of American citizens and America’s closest allies, people who fought alongside us. They passed those lists to the Taliban relying on them thinking they could trust them. It was stupid then. It’s insane now.

“And their plan still seems to be, let’s rely on the Taliban because the Taliban cares a lot about what world opinion thinks of them at French restaurants,” he chided. “It was — it was a disgusting revelation of yet again no plan.”

The transcript is below, click “expand” to read:

ABC’s This Week
August 29, 2021
9:11:13 a.m. Eastern

(…)

MARTHA RADDATZ: The administration keeps saying the commitment to our Afghan allies doesn’t end on the 31st, but your spokesman said the airport will not be open on September 1, and the Taliban obviously can’t secure its safety even when U.S. forces are present. So, how do you realistically think any American citizens or Afghan partners who are left behind will be able to fly out? What would you say to them on how to get out?

SECRETARY OF STATE ANTONY BLINKEN: Martha, a few things. First, just about 24 hours ago a very senior Taliban leader spoke on television and on the radio throughout Afghanistan and repeatedly assured the Afghan people that they would be free to travel after August 31, and he —

RADDATZ: But Secretary Blinken, they do not trust them. I know you say you don’t trust the Taliban, but now you’re telling me we should trust what the Taliban said. Those people are in hiding.

BLINKEN: No, I’m not saying that, Martha. I’m not saying we should trust the Taliban on anything. I’m simply reporting what one of their senior leaders said to the Afghan people. He specifically cited as well those who worked for Americans and any other Afghan for whatever reason. So that’s point one.

RADDATZ: Okay, but I want to go back to that. You’re trying to reassure our Afghan allies. They’re not reassured. Those interpreters who aren’t getting out, they’re not reassured by a statement like that. So, what more can you tell them to get out, how to get out?

BLINKEN: Certainly. And Martha, that was just point one. Point two is this. 114 countries have made very clear that it is their expectation that the Taliban will permit freedom of travel going past August 31. So, that is a clear expectation across the entire world, across the entire international community.

Third, we have very significant leverage to work with over the weeks and months ahead, to incentivize the Taliban to make good on its commitments. Fourth, we’ve been very actively planning for what would be necessary to keep the airport functioning, either to have it function immediately after the 31st or if necessary to take the steps to require it to reopen in a timely fashion, working with countries in the region who are very interested in helping.

The Taliban have a strong interest in having an airport that functions. The Afghan people have a strong interest in having an airport that functions. The entire international community has that interest.

Finally, while the airport is critical, and we’re determined to see it remains open or that it reopens quickly, there are other ways to leave Afghanistan including by road, and many countries border Afghanistan.

RADDATZ: That’s a very dangerous trip.

(…)

9:15:15 a.m. Eastern

RADDATZ: Let’s get a response now from Republican Senator Ben Sasse, a member of the Intelligence Committee. Good morning, Senator. I know you called for President Biden to extend the deadline, but you heard Secretary Blinken. They are not moving that deadline which likely means there will likely be people left behind. How do you think these Afghans and American citizens will get out?

SEN. BEN SASSE (R-NE): First of all, Martha, that interview was disgusting and the American people have a right to be livid about it. There is clearly no plan. There has been no plan. Their plan has basically been happy talk. People have died and people are going to die because President Biden decided to rely on happy talk instead of reality, and so they decided to outsource security around the perimeter airport to the Taliban.

They passed a list of American citizens and America’s closest allies, people who fought alongside us. They passed those lists to the Taliban relying on them thinking they could trust them. It was stupid then. It’s insane now.

And their plan still seems to be, let’s rely on the Taliban because the Taliban cares a lot about what world opinion thinks of them at French restaurants. It was — it was a disgusting revelation of yet again no plan.

(…)



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