(CNSNews.com) – When asked what kind of leverage the U.S. will have over the Taliban after it withdraws all its troops from the region, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said Friday that the Biden administration will “engage with our international partners to determine what the path forward looks like,” and one of the “key components” of that leverage is “a functioning airport.”
“You said you think we’re gonna have a great deal of leverage over the Taliban after we leave. Do you think we will have more leverage with no troops on the ground in Afghanistan than with thousands of troops on the ground in Afghanistan?” Fox News White House Correspondent Peter Doocy asked.
“To be clear, one of the steps that the president directed his secretary of state to take, which was in my statement this morning, was to engage with our international partners to determine what the path forward looks like,” Psaki said.
“There are key components here. The Taliban are going to want a functioning airport. So do we. There’s an enormous amount of economic leverage that the global community has. That’s something we need to work with our international partners on, as we have more to update you on, we will update you on it,” she said.
Doocy also asked Psaki,”When the president says we will hunt you down and make you pay, what does that look like? Is he gonna order a mission to kill the people responsible or would he be satisfied if they are captured and brought to trial?”
“I think he made clear yesterday he does not want them to live on the Earth anymore,” Psaki said.
“As the U.S. is coordinating with the Taliban about security for the next couple days, some of the people running security for the Taliban in Kabul are terrorists with millions of dollars of bounties on their heads. Are we going to try to bring those known terrorists to justice before we leave the country?” Doocy asked.
“Our focus right now is on doing everything we can to get the remaining American citizens who want to depart out of the country. To get our Afghan partners out of the country,” Psaki said.
“As I said in response to Phyllis’s question, this is not a preferred relationship or a situation that we would have designed if we had started from scratch. I think that is very clear. Right now we need to continue to coordinate, that is our focus next couple days,” she said.