CBS Gets Blinken to Admit Biden Is Asking Taliban for ‘Permission’ to Save Americans

The Biden administration was having an extremely rough time spinning their Afghanistan failure as they made the rounds on the Sunday shows. Secretary of State Antony Blinken made things exponentially worse on CBS’s Face the Nation after fill-in moderator Major Garrett got him to admit the administration was asking the Taliban for “permission” to get Americans out of the country.

Blinken’s fumble began when Garrett asking him about President Biden’s comments regarding “an agreement with the Taliban,” because “that implies we’re negotiating with them.” “Does that not confer upon them already legitimacy,” Garrett fretted.

In defense of Biden, Blinken suggested that negotiating with the terrorist organization was needed to foster “a working relationship in order to deconflict, in order to work through any problems with people getting to the airport.”

Garret cut right to point and asserted that, to some, it sounded like he and the rest of the administration were asking “permission” to save Americans. Blinken didn’t disagree or show any discomfort at the notion:

GARRETT: Someone in our audience might listen to you, Mr. Secretary, and say, “Oh, so, we have to ask the Taliban for permission for American citizens to leave.” True or not true?

BLINKEN: They are in control of Kabul. That is the reality. That is the reality that we have to deal with.

GARRETT: How comfortable are you with that, Mr. Secretary?

BLINKEN: What I am focused on, what we’re all focused on, is getting people out and making sure that we’re doing everything possible to do that. And in this case, it is, I think, a requirement of the job to be in contact with the Taliban, which controls Kabul.

After Blinken desperately tried to boost their evacuation numbers by including departures from well before the collapse of the country, Garrett confronted his guest with damning poll numbers. “Mr. Secretary, you may have heard in our poll that 60 percent of voters we talked to now fear there is more threat of terrorism in the United States because the Taliban is in control of Afghanistan. Are they wrong?

The secretary tried to dance around the fact that Islamic terrorists now had another safe haven to train and grow. Garrett did try to trip him up, though:

BLINKEN: Remember, Major, we went to Afghanistan indeed for one reason, one major purpose —

GARRETT: Right, but now they’re fearful. Are they wrong?

BLINKEN: The threat of terrorism metastasize out of Afghanistan a long time ago. It is more acute in many other places around the world.

Later in the program, Garrett spoke with Obama-era Ambassador to Afghanistan Ryan Crocker, who reiterated his previous criticism of Biden. “Not only how his decision was made to withdraw, but then its execution, which has been, so far, catastrophic,” he said, noting it called into question Biden’s “competency” to lead.

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

CBS’s Face the Nation
August 22, 2021
10:44:02 a.m. Eastern

(…)

MAJOR GARRETT: The president said that we have an agreement with the Taliban. Mr. Secretary, that implies we’re negotiating with them. Does that not confer upon them already legitimacy?

STATE SEC. ANTONY BLINKEN: No. We have – We’ve had, for a long time, had contact with the Taliban both at a political level in Doha, going back some years, as well as now on the ground in Kabul, a working relationship in order to deconflict, in order to work through any problems with people getting to the airport. That’s been very important to making sure that we can actually advance our own interests in getting people out safely and effectively as possible. So, that’s the nature of the relationship.

GARRETT: Someone in our audience might listen to you, Mr. Secretary, and say, “Oh, so, we have to ask the Taliban for permission for American citizens to leave.” True or not true?

BLINKEN: They are in control of Kabul. That is the reality. That is the reality that we have to deal with.

GARRETT: How comfortable are you with that, Mr. Secretary?

BLINKEN: What I am focused on, what we’re all focused on, is getting people out and making sure that we’re doing everything possible to do that. And in this case, it is, I think, a requirement of the job to be in contact with the Taliban, which controls Kabul.

And look, what we’ve seen, Major, is also pretty remarkable. Go back a week. The government fell — and, by the way, I was on the phone with President Karzai the day before, when he was telling me his intent, as he put it, to fight to the death. Well, the next day he was gone. The military collapsed.

And in the space of that week, our military went in, secured the airport, got our embassy to safety at the airport from the embassy compound, began this remarkable evacuation effort. And as I said, we had about 8,000 people out in the last 24 hours. And going back to the end of July, it is 30,000 people. And that’s extraordinary. It doesn’t just happen. A tremendous amount of planning went into that, including a lot of pre-planning. And that’s what we’re focused on now: getting that mission done.

GARRETT: Mr. Secretary, you may have heard in our poll that 60 percent of voters we talked to now fear there is more threat of terrorism in the United States because the Taliban is in control of Afghanistan. Are they wrong?

BLINKEN: Remember, Major, we went to Afghanistan indeed for one reason, one major purpose —

GARRETT: Right, but now they’re fearful. Are they wrong?

BLINKEN: The threat of terrorism metastasize out of Afghanistan a long time ago. It is more acute in many other places around the world. And in Afghanistan itself, we were able to vastly diminish Al-Qaeda and any threat that it poses. If it reconstitutes, we’re putting in place measures over the horizon, as we say, to make sure we can see it and act on it.

(…)

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