Psaki Faces FBI Wanted Poster of Taliban's Interior Minister After Praising Group as 'Business-Like'
On Thursday, the White House confirmed that a charter flight from Afghanistan brought US citizens and permanent residents to Qatar, praising the Taliban as "business-like" and "cooperative" in facilitating the trip and saying that "this is a positive first step".
During a press briefing with reporters, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki was pressed by Fox News reporter Peter Doocy, who showed her the FBI "wanted" poster for the Taliban's new interior minister, Serajuddin Haqqani.
Referring to the White House's nod to the Taliban for being "business-like" and "professional" during the organisation of the Thursday charter flight for Americans from Afghanistan, Doocy asked Psaki to clarify what kind of "business" there could be with people who are wanted by the FBI.
"Their interior minister has an FBI wanted poster - he's got a $10 million bounty on his head. What's the business?", Doocy wondered, with Psaki responding that the US had to work with the Taliban "in a businesslike manner" to "press them" and "get those people out".
Doocy's question came after the White House statement that confirmed the departure of multiple US nationals and permanent residents to Qatar on a charter flight.
“The Taliban have been cooperative in facilitating the departure of American citizens and lawful permanent residents on charter flights from HKIA”, the statement said. "[...] They have been businesslike and professional in our dealings with them in this effort. This is a positive first step.”
The reporter also questioned Psaki on what the "first step" was towards.
"Towards getting additional people out who want to leave Afghanistan", the press secretary responded, swiftly switching to another reporter.
Serajuddin Haqqani was named as acting interior minister of Afghanistan by the Taliban* on Tuesday, along with other members of the new interim government, which has already been blasted by the Western countries for not being as inclusive as the militants had promised.
Among the members of the interim government are also those that are included on the United Nations terror list, such as acting PM Mullah Hassan Akhund and his first deputy Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar.