Sources revealed an agency director of the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA(, William Burns, held a secret meeting in Kabul on Monday with the leader of the Taliban Abdul Ghani Baradar.
In the meeting, there were high-level talks over the Taliban and the management of Biden since the takeover of the militants on the Afghan capital. The US officials familiar declined to reveal their identity due to diplomatic sensitivity.
Biden sent the highest-ranking intelligence official, a foreign service veteran, in an attempt to evacuate people from Kabul International Airport in what the US president called one of the largest and most difficult evacuations in history.
The CIA declined to comment on the Taliban meeting, but discussions likely included implementing a deadline for the withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan and ending the evacuation of US citizens and Afghan allies.
The Biden administration is under pressure from its closest allies to keep American forces in the country beyond the end of this month to help evacuate tens of thousands of American citizens and citizens of Western countries, as well as Afghan allies who want a decision from Taliban rule.
Britain, France, and other allies of Washington said more time was needed to evacuate their citizens, but a Taliban spokesman warned the United States not to cross a red line by keeping troops after August 31, noting that this could have unspecified consequences.
Baradar’s role as a counterpart to the CIA director is ironic, as it comes 11 years after the CIA arrested him in a joint operation with Pakistan, which put him in prison for eight years. However, the Taliban leader is no stranger to Westerners. After his release in 2018, he served as the Taliban’s chief negotiator in talks with the United States in Qatar that resulted in an agreement with the Trump administration on the withdrawal of American forces.