Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin told House members in a call this afternoon that Americans have been beaten by the Taliban in Kabul, according to multiple sources on the call.
Austin called it “unacceptable” but would not rule in or out if Americans would go outside the gates to ensure safe passage through checkpoints. Still, he added that generally the Taliban were not hindering Americans seeking to get to the airport, echoing the claims made publicly by President Biden on Sunday.
The comments appear to contradict President Biden’s statement earlier Friday that there's "no indication" US citizens have been unable to get to Kabul airport.
Politico first reported Austin’s comments.
Asked about Austin’s comments and reports of beatings, Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said, “we're certainly mindful of these reports and they're deeply troubling, and we have communicated to the Taliban that that's absolutely unacceptable, that we want free passage through their checkpoints for documented Americans. And by and large, that's happening.”