Joe Biden’s administration was in no hurry to acknowledge a militant group’s new leadership in Afghanistan on Sept. 7.
The White House refused to state its position on the Taliban’s interim government, led by Mullah Mohammad Hassan Akhund.
“There is no rush to recognition [and] it is really going to be dependent on what steps the Taliban takes,” Press Secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement.
Washington will closely observe the new regime’s actions before passing judgment.
“The world will be watching … whether they allow for American citizens and citizens of other countries to depart, individuals who want to leave the country to leave, humanitarian assistance to travel,” Psaki said. “How they treat women and girls around the country [will also be scrutinized.]”
After speaking with reporters aboard Air Force One, the press secretary did not rule out the possibility of the Biden administration officially recognizing Taliban rule.
“I do not have a timeline for you,” she said. “It depends on what behavior they exhibit on the ground.”
President Biden previously suggested the United States was a “long way away” from recognizing the militant regime as the legitimate Afghan government.
State Department spokesman Ned Price previously suggested it might be possible to recognize a Taliban government, if it “upholds the basic rights of its people, that does not harbor terrorists” in the Middle Eastern country.
Fighters seized control of the presidential palace back on Aug. 15. BL understands they took advantage of the U.S. military withdrawal, and then President Ashraf Ghani’s decision to flee Afghanistan.
Taliban spokesman Zabijullah Mujahid confirmed new appointees to the interim government are only in an “acting capacity.” He claimed multiple old guard members have joined the new regime.
“Regarding the flights, they have to obey our law,” Muhahid said according to USA News Lab. “They have to have proper documents and, if they do not have documents, we will not allow them to go.”
Travelers must have passports, visas, and an exit stamp before exiting the country.
“We will definitely restart the work of departments and then people will be able to travel abroad,” he said. “[In] the next few days, people will be able to travel abroad.”
The Biden administration estimates “just under” 100 U.S. citizens are still in Afghanistan. The State Department confirmed four Americans are the latest to be safely evacuated.
“We are working with American citizens to get out of the country,” Psaki said. “Our secretary of state is in Qatar right now working on a range of options, including getting flights up and operational–and going.”
However, Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas) is concerned Taliban fighters will not let Americans leave without first meeting strict requirements.
The top Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee revealed up to six planes carrying U.S. citizens and Afghan evacuees have been unable to depart Mazar-i-Sharif airport in Afghanistan’s northern region.
“The Taliban are holding them hostage in exchange for demands right now,” he said according to Fox News.
Although Secretary of State Antony Blinken expects only 100 or 200 Americans want to leave the Middle Eastern country, McCaul estimates the true figure is much higher.