National security adviser's confidence in post-deadline Afghanistan departures about 'leverage,' not trust in Taliban

National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan told CNN's Jake Tapper on Sunday's edition of State of the Union that the Biden administration believes it has "substantial leverage" to make sure the Taliban grants American citizens, legal permanent residents, and Afghan allies who have the proper travel documents safe passage to Hamid Karzai International Airport even after the Aug. 31 deadline passes.

"We will use that leverage to the maximum extent, and we will work with the rest of the international community to ensure the Taliban does not falter on these commitments," Sullivan said, though he didn't go into specifics.

See more

Fox News' Chris Wallace pressed Sullivan about the apparent leverage, a point that was also made by White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki earlier this week. In response, Sullivan said "no one here trusts the Taliban," but if they don't allow the aforementioned groups to reach the airport, Washington "can bring to bear enormous pressure on the Taliban with a swift and forceful response ... that's not about trust, that's about the capabilities we have to hold the Taliban to the commitments they have made."

Subscribe to The Week

Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.

SUBSCRIBE & SAVE
https://cdn.mos.cms.futurecdn.net/flexiimages/jacafc5zvs1692883516.jpg

Sign up for The Week's Free Newsletters

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign up

On CBS News' Face the Nation, Sullivan also explained that after Aug. 31, the U.S. does not plan on having a permanent embassy presence in Afghanistan, but he said there will still be diplomats "on the ground" who will continue to process visa applications and facilitate safe passage for evacuees. And over time, Sullivan suggested, the administration could reassess its diplomatic presence depending on the Taliban's behavior.

See more
To continue reading this article...
Continue reading this article and get limited website access each month.
Get unlimited website access, exclusive newsletters plus much more.
Cancel or pause at any time.
Already a subscriber to The Week?
Not sure which email you used for your subscription? Contact us