With few exceptions, the historical rule has been that the United States government does not negotiate with terrorists.
Following the Taliban takeover in the wake of the U.S. troop withdrawal from Afghanistan, however, that appears to be exactly what the Biden administration has done.
“Careful and hard diplomacy”
Even as Americans remain stranded in the war-torn country, the White House has praised the Taliban for remaining “businesslike and professional” during negotiations, according to Breitbart.
National Security Council spokesperson Emily Horne used those descriptive words in response to news that the Taliban permitted a Qatar Airways passenger jet to leave Afghanistan with an undisclosed number of Americans on board. In Horne’s statement on Thursday, she confirmed that the charter flight left Afghanistan and landed safely in Qatar.
She added that the Biden administration is “deeply grateful” to Qatar for its assistance, noting that the successful flight was “the result of careful and hard diplomacy and engagement.”
As for the Taliban, Horne declared that the militant group has “been cooperative in facilitating the departure of American citizens and lawful permanent residents” during the ongoing operation.
“They have shown flexibility and they have been businesslike and professional in our dealings with them in this effort,” she added. “This is a positive first step.”
“The Taliban was cooperative”
Horne insinuated that negotiations would continue, explaining that there is “no deadline” for Americans seeking to flee Afghanistan.
“We remain committed to get them out if they want to come out,” she said.
Later the same day, White House press secretary Jen Psaki doubled down on the glowing rhetoric regarding the Taliban, stating: “We wanted to note that the Taliban was cooperative in facilitating the departure of these American citizens and legal permanent residents.”
A reporter pressed Psaki on the apparent disconnect between America’s longstanding opposition to the Taliban and the current willingness to negotiate. She effectively dodged the question, simply claiming that, in this case, “we had to work with some members of the Taliban to press them and to work in a businesslike manner to get them out.”
It remains to be seen how comfortable the Biden administration will ultimately become with the idea of negotiating with Taliban militants.