The C.I.A. director, William J. Burns, traveled to Kabul this week for talks with the Taliban management, in response to American officers aware of his go to — the highest-level in-person talks between a Biden administration official and the brand new de facto management of Afghanistan.
Mr. Burns, a longtime former diplomat, met on Monday with Abdul Ghani Baradar, the Taliban chief who led diplomatic negotiations in Qatar with the U.S. authorities.
A key subject for america is getting the Taliban management to permit extra time for evacuation operations from the Kabul airport. America is conducting a big airlift of individuals, together with Afghans, People and others, out of Afghanistan. President Biden has set a deadline for that operation to be concluded by Aug. 31.
America has despatched 1000’s of troops to safe the airport, and the tempo of evacuations has stepped up in current days. However getting Afghans from their houses to the airport in Kabul safely is turning into tougher and harmful, and it isn’t clear whether or not the U.S. authorities can keep the tempo of evacuations.
Former officers have mentioned that america will want extra time, maybe till late September, to ferry out Afghans who’ve utilized for particular visas from america.
Suhail Shaheen, a spokesman for the Taliban in Qatar, mentioned on Monday that any extension past Aug. 31 can be a “clear violation” of america’ settlement with the group on the withdrawal of troops.
Earlier than being named as C.I.A. director, Mr. Burns had an extended diplomatic profession during which he specialised in delicate, secret communications. He titled his memoir “The Again Channel” and was chargeable for the preliminary undisclosed discussions that finally led to the Iran nuclear talks within the Obama administration.
And with the autumn of the American-backed authorities and the withdrawal of diplomats and troops from Afghanistan, the C.I.A. will bear a lot of the duty for monitoring Afghanistan going ahead.
The C.I.A. and the Nationwide Safety Council declined to remark. The Washington Submit earlier reported Mr. Burns’ go to.
For now, the Taliban have allowed the operations to proceed on the airport. Though some civilians have been harassed and overwhelmed whereas making an attempt to strategy the airport, the Taliban haven’t overtly interfered with the American operations.
However U.S. officers fear concerning the prospects of assaults on the airport by the Islamic State and different teams.
American operations don’t simply want the passive assist of the Taliban to permit the flights. Additionally they want the group to actively cease ISIS and others from mounting assaults on Afghan civilians, together with any suicide bombings outdoors the airport.
Regardless of the hard-line rhetoric, the Taliban have an incentive to cooperate. The appearing authorities needs to safe worldwide legitimacy and to attempt to keep away from the isolation the group skilled within the Nineties, when it was final in energy. Taliban leaders have urged worldwide governments to keep up their embassies in Afghanistan.