- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 8, 2021

White House press secretary Jen Psaki on Wednesday declined to say if the U.S. would validate Afghanistan‘s Taliban government, saying it hasn’t earned the respect of the global community.

“No one in this administration, not the president nor anyone on the national security team would suggest the Taliban are respected, valued members of the global community. They have not earned that in any way,” Ms. Psaki told reporters at a White House press briefing.

“This is a caretaker cabinet that does include four former imprisoned Taliban fighters,” she continued. “We have not validated that and we have not conveyed we’re going to recognize it.”

Ms. Psaki said there is much the Taliban government would have to do to earn global recognition, adding the administration’s main focus is evacuating American citizens and Afghan allies from the beleaguered nation.

Still, Ms. Psaki said that despite the administration’s concerns, it is necessary to engage with the Taliban until all Americans have left the country.

“Should we not talk to the people who are overseeing Afghanistan and just leave it and not get the rest of the American citizens out?” she asked.

The Taliban this week announced its new cabinet, which is made up of senior militants, some of whom are responsible for attacks on U.S. forces over the past 20 years.

It appointed Mullah Mohammad Hassan Akhund to serve as Afghanistan‘s new acting prime minister. He is on a United Nations blacklist.

The acting interior minister, Sirajuddin Haqqani, is wanted by the FBi for his alleged involvement in a 2008 terror attack in Kabul that killed six people, including an American.

• Jeff Mordock can be reached at jmordock@washingtontimes.com.

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