William Burns met Taliban co-founder Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar amid efforts to evacuate hundreds of individuals from Afghanistan.
US Central Intelligence Company chief William Burns has held a secret assembly with Taliban co-founder Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar in Kabul, the Washington Submit and Related Press reported.
The Monday assembly, which if confirmed can have been the highest-level encounter between the Taliban group and the Biden administration because the group’s return to energy, got here as efforts to evacuate hundreds of individuals from Afghanistan turned more and more pressing.
Burns is one in all US President Joe Biden’s most skilled diplomats; whereas Baradar, who headed the Taliban’s political workplace in Qatar, is likely one of the high leaders within the regime that has taken energy in Kabul.
A spokesperson for the CIA wouldn’t verify the assembly to AFP, saying that the company “by no means discusses the director’s travels.”
The Washington Submit, which cited nameless US sources for the assembly, didn’t reveal the content material of the discussions between the Taliban co-founder and the CIA boss.
But it surely mentioned it was probably they revolved round any delay within the deadline for the US to complete evacuations out of Kabul airport, the place hundreds of Afghans, terrified by the return of the Taliban, are nonetheless massed with the hope of fleeing the nation.
Biden has set an August 31 deadline to complete the chaotic airlift organised by hundreds of briefly deployed US and UK troops however has left the door open to an extension if wanted.
However a spokesman for the Taliban warned on Monday the group wouldn’t conform to any extension, calling the problem a “purple line”, with any delay considered as “extending occupation”.
“If the US or UK had been to hunt extra time to proceed evacuations – the reply isn’t any. Or there can be penalties,” Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen advised Sky Information.
A digital G7 summit is scheduled to assessment the evacuations on Tuesday.