CIA Chief held secret meeting with Taliban Commander Mullah Baradar in Kabul
NEW YORK – Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Director William Burns secretly held a meeting with Abdul Ghani Baradar, co-founder and deputy leader of the Taliban movement, in Kabul on Monday, it emerged on Tuesday.
The Washington Post in a report citing sources said that both held meeting in the Afghan capital as the Biden Administration has paced up its efforts to evacuate US citizens and other allies from Kabul.
The meeting, if confirmed, is the highest level diplomatic contact between the US and the group since the Taliban took control of Afghanistan's capital last week, making sweeping advances amid withdrawal of foreign forces.
Representatives for the CIA and the White House did not immediately issue any statement in this regard.
The US-based media oulet, which cited anonymous US sources for the meeting, did not share details about the content of the discussions between the Taliban co-founder and the CIA boss.
But it said it was likely the talks revolved around any delay in the deadline for the US to complete evacuations at the Kabul airport, where thousands of Afghans are scrambling to flee the country due to the terror of the Taliban.
Biden has set an August 31 deadline to finish the evacuation being organised by thousands of temporarily deployed US and UK troops amid reports of extension in the deadline.
Meanwhile Taliban spokesperson Suhail Shaheen warned Monday the group would not grant any extension, adding that there will be consequences if the deadline is extended.
"If the US or UK were to seek additional time to continue evacuations — the answer is no. Or there would be consequences," Suhail Shaheen told Sky News.