State Department spokesperson Ned Price said in a briefing from the agency on Tuesday that the U.S. remains cautious, yet prepared after the Taliban said it will allow for the safe passage of Americans and Afghans who aided in the U.S. mission to leave the country.
“We have also said there has been engagement with the Taliban on the ground in Kabul. This is a military-led channel. It’s a channel that is tactical, that, again, is focused rather squarely on issues like safe passage for civilians,” Price said. “It is manifestly in our interests to have these open channels of dialogue with the Taliban.”
He said the government has received “assurances” but acknowledged the U.S. response in the coming days will depend on the group’s actions.
“We’re going to be looking for the follow-through. We’ll be looking for the deeds,” Price said.
He also said the State Department is dispatching career diplomat John Bass, who formerly served as U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan, to Kabul “to lead logistics coordination and consular efforts,” as the race to evacuation thousands continues.