It’s been a tough week for Biden administration members’ messaging from the podium, but on Friday afternoon the misinformation from Ned Price hit a new level. The much-criticized State Department spokesman claimed the Taliban and the Haqqani network are “separate entities.”
Tom Joscelyn, who runs the essential Long War Journal, responded in shock at the ignorance.
Price has been in federal government his entire adult life, but clearly doesn’t study too closely or read the Wall Street Journal, which only yesterday had an informative news story headlined, “In Taliban-Ruled Afghanistan, Al Qaeda-Linked Haqqani Network Rises to Power.”
Within the 1,000-word piece, one excerpt would help Price:
“Since the Taliban’s takeover of Kabul, the normally elusive Haqqani network, which is built around a family of the same name, has assumed a public role in the Afghan capital. The network’s de facto leader, Sirajuddin Haqqani, son of Jalaluddin, worked closely with Osama bin Laden’s top lieutenant and al Qaeda fighters in Afghanistan, according to files recovered in bin Laden’s compound in Pakistan. Today, Sirajuddin is the Taliban’s military chief, and his forces have been put in charge of security in Kabul.”
Price could also learn from H.R. McMaster, former national security adviser and deputy commander for coalition forces in Afghanistan.
“The Haqqanis expose the lie that there is a line between Taliban and other jihadist groups, especially al Qaeda,” the military historian said.
But according to the 38-year-old Georgetown and Harvard graduate Price, barbaric Al-Qaeda-allied jihadists like the Taliban are our partners, yet the equally barbaric Al-Qaeda-allied jihadists of the Haqqani network are not. A distinction without a difference?
The Taliban and the Haqqani network are deeply intertwined. Even Wikipedia calls Haqquani a Taliban “offshoot.”
Meanwhile, mainstream media reports from Price’s Friday briefing either missed or glossed over the dangerous snafu.