September 23, 2021

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Pompeo: Biden Friday speech failed to ‘strike fear’ into the Taliban – Fox News

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EXCLUSIVE: Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo issued a blistering response to President Joe Biden’s remarks on the current situation in Afghanistan, saying that the president “failed” to adequately respond to the ongoing crisis.

“President Biden’s address to America today failed to respond to the crisis in Afghanistan,” Pompeo told Fox News. “It did not lay out a plan to get American civilians home, it did not strike fear in the Taliban sufficient to deter them from holding Americans, and it most certainly did not allay concerns of our allies that President Biden is not a reliable partner.”

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In his Friday speech, Biden attempted to assuage fears and concerns about the rapidly deteriorating scene in Kabul as his administration attempts to evacuate American citizens and allies from the airport which is surrounded by Taliban fighters. 

Many reports have circulated that Americans have been prevented from reaching the airport due to Taliban checkpoints, and some have even reportedly been beaten by the Taliban. Biden downplayed those reports in his remarks.

“To the best of our knowledge, the Taliban checkpoints, they are letting through people showing American passports,” Biden said, adding that, “We know of no circumstance where American citizens, carrying an American passport,” were being blocked from reaching the airport. 

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“We have no indication that they haven’t been able to get in Kabul through the airport. We’ve made an agreement with the Taliban thus far.”

Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin contradicted Biden around the same time on Friday, telling House lawmakers on a phone call that multiple Americans trying to reach the Kabul airport have been beaten by Taliban fighters, two lawmakers told Fox News.  

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While Biden has said he stands behind his decision to withdraw troops, he has admitted the rapid Taliban takeover caught his administration off-guard. In addition to taking over the country for the first time since being driven out of power in 2001, the Islamist militant group has seized billions of dollars worth of U.S. weapons and military equipment.

Peter Hasson and David Rutz  contributed to this report

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