CIA director William Burns had a confidential meeting in Kabul with Taliban co-founder Abdul Ghani Baradar on Monday (23), The Washington Post newspaper and news agencies reported on Tuesday (24).
It was the meeting at the highest level between the United States and the fundamentalist regime since the takeover of Kabul and the return of the Taliban to power.
A US Congressional source told Reuters that Burns and Baradar discussed the deadline for the withdrawal of the US military on August 31 and the evacuation of other citizens from the Kabul airport, where thousands of people terrified by the return of the Taliban waiting to flee the country.
Burns is often described as the most experienced diplomat in Joe Biden’s government. The president’s decision to send him to Afghanistan illustrates the gravity of the crisis for his government. The United States is racing against time to drive thousands of Americans and Afghans out of the country.
Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, who headed the Taliban political bureau in Qatar, is now the strong man of the new regime.
Contacted by AFP, a CIA spokesperson did not confirm the meeting and said the agency “never talks about the director’s travels.”
A career diplomat, William Burns served as Ambassador to Russia and Jordan and later Under Secretary of State to former President Barack Obama. At the time, he coordinated Iran’s rapprochement with secret negotiations in 2011 and 2012 in Oman with this country, despite the absence of diplomatic relations with the United States.
The Americans are stepping up their withdrawal efforts on Tuesday (24), after warnings from the Taliban that they will not tolerate these operations within a week.
A virtual G7 summit on Tuesday will also address the issue.