Critics baffled by UN ambassador boasting of 'very strongly worded press statement' to Taliban: 'Wut'

Media top headlines August 18

In media news today, a top Biden aide says he won’t ‘comment on hypotheticals’ when asked if Americans will be left in Afghanistan, a journalist who witnessed the fall of Saigon reacts to the situation in Afghanistan, and Twitter faces scrutiny as Taliban fighters continue using the Big Tech platform

United Nations Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield boasted Tuesday the U.S. had used a “very strongly worded press statement” from the U.N. Security Council to tell the repressive Taliban it must respect women’s rights and humanitarian law.

As reports of violent repression against women and U.S. allies by the Taliban alarm the globe, Thomas-Greenfield told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer the U.S. would be “watching” closely. 

“We are hearing from people in Afghanistan that they are getting threats from the Taliban, and we have expressed in no uncertain terms here at the United Nations through a very strongly worded press statement from the Security Council that we expect the Taliban to respect human rights, including the rights of women and girls,” Thomas-Greenfield said. “We have also indicated that they have to be respectful of humanitarian law and that we do not expect to see that Afghanistan will become a safe haven for terrorists. But, again, it is not their words that we will hold them to. It is their actions that we will be watching.”

Actress Patricia Heaton summed up the feelings of many critics at the clip, simply writing “wut.” Others compared it to the 2004 comedy “Team America: World Police,” where U.N. official Hans Blix demands North Korean dictator Kim Jong-il allow a search for weapons of mass destruction or else “we will be very angry with you.”

“This can’t be real,” Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., tweeted.

The Washington Examiner’s Jerry Dunleavy called it “a turn of phrase that really does seem to capture the debacle that is this current moment.”

“If it had merely been a strongly worded press statement, it might be fair to criticize the Biden admin for not having a plan and exuding weakness. But it was a VERY strongly worded press statement,” tweeted Omri Ceren, an aide to Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas.

The U.N. Security Council statement “underscored that a sustainable end to the conflict in Afghanistan can only be achieved through an inclusive, just, durable and realistic political settlement that upholds human rights, including for women, children and minorities. The members of the Security Council called on parties to adhere to international norms and standards on human rights and put an end to all abuses and violations in this regard.”

The Biden White House already came under fire when press secretary Jen Psaki said the Taliban needed to consider its role in the “international community.”

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