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U.S. Reliance on the Taliban for Safety of Its Citizens in Afghanistan a ‘Risk,' Warns Ex-General

Stringer | Reuters
  • The United States is relying on an agreement with the Taliban to guarantee the safe passage of Americans from Afghanistan.
  • “The fact that we’re relying on the Taliban I think is a risk that we need to be aware of, and we need to be having some plans if they decide to turn off that flow,” said retired Army Brigadier General Mark Kimmitt.

Retired Army Brigadier General Mark Kimmitt told CNBC's "The News with Shepard Smith" he was concerned about the U.S. agreement with the Taliban to guarantee safe passage of Americans out of Afghanistan. 

"The fact that we're relying on the Taliban I think is a risk that we need to be aware of, and we need to be having some plans if they decide to turn off that flow," said Kimmitt, who served as deputy assistant secretary of defense for Middle Eastern policy. "The Taliban, first of all, haven't lived up to an agreement since they formed their organization -- you saw it at the Doha talks, they violated every commitment they've made, and what the Taliban can turn on, the Taliban can turn off in a moment."

In recent weeks, the Taliban seized major cities and provincial capitals across Afghanistan before entering capital Kabul on Sunday and taking control of the presidential palace.

Speaking at the White House Friday, President Joe Biden said he did not plan to expand the American security perimeter beyond the airport, because it would draw "unintended consequences." 

"We have been in constant contact with Taliban leadership on the ground in Kabul, as well as the Taliban leadership in Doha," he said. "And we have been coordinating what we are doing."

Kimmitt told host Frank Holland that he thinks the U.S. underestimated the Taliban's capabilities when it comes to psychological warfare. 

"Their ability to get inside the heads, not only of the Afghan soldiers, but also inspiring their own soldiers, you have to give them a little nod to their military capability and to their psychological capability," Kimmitt said during a Friday evening interview. 

The retired Army brigadier general added that when it comes to military capability, however, the U.S. military outguns, outflies, and outnumbers the Taliban. 

The White House did not immediately respond to CNBC's request for comment.

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