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Psaki clashes with NYT’s Michael Shear as he challenges Biden’s Afghan exit plan: ‘It is easy to play backseat’

White Home Press Secretary Jen Psaki had a contentious alternate with New York Instances correspondent Michael Shear over the Biden administration’s dealing with of the withdrawal from Afghanistan. 

Throughout Friday’s press briefing, Psaki was requested concerning the criticism the administration has obtained from Democratic lawmakers who’ve stated that the navy withdrawal from Afghanistan was “egregiously mishandled.” 

“It’s simple to throw stones or be a critic from the skin. It’s more durable to be within the area and make tough selections,” Psaki informed one reporter. 

Psaki then argued the 2 “choices” President Biden had in entrance of him have been both sending “tens of hundreds of extra troops to Afghanistan to probably lose their lives” or “you pull out and you do not put anybody in danger.” 


“The choice that he has chosen, in coordination and based mostly on the suggestions along with his navy commanders and advisers on the bottom, is to implement an evacuation that has saved the lives probably of greater than 105,000 folks, actually susceptible to the women and men who’re serving within the navy as we noticed the occasions of yesterday. That’s the selection he’s made,” Psaki stated. 

That sparked an interjection from Shear. 

“However Jen, apologies for my colleagues, however, like, you guys have stated repeatedly this concept that there have been solely two decisions. What proof do you’ve gotten that there weren’t different decisions that would have been made?” Shear requested. 

“What’s the opposite selection anybody is providing?” Psaki shot again. 

(Getty Photographs/Larry D. Moore)

Shear provided a hypothetical “instance” the place Biden might have informed the Afghan authorities in Could about America’s mass evacuation to permit personnel and Afghan allies to begin evacuating. 

“I am not suggesting that is the proper option to have gone, I don’t know, however it’s one other possibility and I’m certain there’s ten different choices that I haven’t considered that- so why do you current it as these being the one two choices?” Shear pressed Psaki. 

“There are after all different choices, however there are penalties to each possibility. That’s my level,” Psaki responded. 

Psaki then prompt that underneath Shear’s proposed plan {that a} “menace on U.S. forces would have elevated at that cut-off date.”

“However you’d have been working in a capital that wasn’t overrun by the Taliban,”  the Instances reporter pushed again.

“How have you learnt that?” Psaki replied.

“Properly, the Taliban wasn’t close to Kabul at that time,” Shear responded. 


“Look, Mike, I feel it’s simple to play backseat, let’s have a look at what might have occurred, three months, 4 months in the past. I feel we’ve been clear on a couple of issues, I’ll simply say,” Psaki informed Shear. “Nobody anticipated, I feel together with on the skin, that the Afghan authorities would have fallen on the tempo they fell and the president and members of our nationwide safety group has spoken to that as nicely. We didn’t anticipate the Afghan nationwide safety forces would have folded as they did. We didn’t anticipate that. And because of that every one occurring, we noticed a chaotic scenario simply two weeks in the past.”

“My level in response to the query is that there are penalties to any of those tough decisions and selections. That’s what faces you as commander-in-chief and that was the bigger level I used to be attempting to make,” Psaki added.


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