Aug 19, 2021 - World

Biden: Taliban haven't changed since their ruling days

President Biden told ABC's George Stephanopoulos that he doesn't believe the Taliban have changed substantially since they were last in power, but that they are facing an "existential crisis" about whether they want to be recognized on the international stage.

Driving the news: The Taliban have pledged to be more inclusive since their days of totalitarian rule in the 1990s, vowing to not retaliate against opponents and honor women's rights within the "frameworks" of Islamic law. But scenes from Kabul and areas they previously controlled suggest the militants will continue to govern with a heavy hand.

The big picture: Biden said he's not sure the Taliban care about being recognized as a legitimate government, and are more concerned with their food supply, income, and whether they can "hold together" Afghan society.

  • Biden added that the U.S. should try to evacuate as many Afghan women as it can but contested the idea that the U.S. can uphold women's rights with military force as "not rational."
  • "There are a lot of places where women are being subjugated. The way to deal with it is not a military invasion, the way to deal with that is putting economic, diplomatic and international pressure on them to change their behavior," the president said.
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