Chuck Hagel Jokes That Indian Man Asking Him A Question Is A Member Of The Taliban

He was a college professor. Hagel was speaking at the University of Nebraska where he went to school. He had previously answered a question on Afghanistan and negotiating with the Taliban before the exchange.

A longer version of the event is available here.

The Pentagon's statement according to KTIV in Nebraska said Hagel meant:

Absolutely no slight toward any individual in the audience was intended. That's the last thing the Secretary would do under any circumstance, in this or any other setting. He didn't know who would be called next to pose a question.

The professor, Dr. Robin Gandhi said in a statement:

I was honored to attend Secretary of Defense Hagel's speech on Wednesday. I was able to ask a question and thoroughly enjoyed his answer. Before I rose to ask a question, there was apparently some confusion that did not involve me.