Questions are dogging the Pentagon after it was reported that the Biden Administration disclosed information about Americans, foreign nationals and Afghan interpreters to the Taliban.
With seventy-two hours to go before the August 31st withdrawal deadline, and a dynamic and deteriorating security situation around Hamid Karza International Airport in Kabul following a suicide bombing attack that left 169 dead, including thirteen American Marines, Major General Hank Taylor was on the defensive about what precise information was given to the Taliban about incoming evacuees.
The US is coordinating with the Taliban to maintain security at the airport so that evacuations can proceed as scheduled. When asked, Major General Hank Taylor said that it was important that "Taliban checkpoint leaders have and understand who's coming– what documentation they're supposed to have."
Major General Hank Taylor claims the decision is motivated by a desire to "increase throughput" at Taliban checkpoints and minimize the number of time persons approved for evacuation spend in unsecure parts of Kabul.
Taylor said the US would continue to conduct counter-terrorism operations in Afghanistan.
"Without specifying any future plans, I will say that we will continue to have the ability to defend ourselves," he said. Taylor acknowledged the Pentagon would leverage its "over-the-horizon capability" to conduct strikes as needed from bases outside of Afghanistan.
"We’re going to defend ourselves," he added.
The US airstrike Saturday that left two ISIS-K militants dead and another wounded, had "zero civilian casualties," said Taylor. They were planners and facilitators for the organization that were supposedly planning future attacks.