The director of the CIA, William Burns, met the head of the Taliban, Abdul Ghani Baradar last Monday in Kabul. The Washington Post reports. The secret meeting was reported by an official involved in the dossier who spoke anonymously to the newspaper. This would be the highest level summit to have taken place between the Taliban and a member of the Biden administration since the fall of Kabul.
The CIA did not comment on the indiscretion, while the Taliban denied it. Biden’s decision to mobilize a veteran of diplomacy like Burns comes in the context of the frantic evacuation of US diplomatic personnel and their Afghan collaborators from Kabul airport. According to the Washington Post, it is likely that at the center of the conversation there was the possibility of extending the deadline for completing the airlift beyond August 31, the date of the complete US withdrawal.
Biden is under increasing pressure from the allies, primarily France and Great Britain, to extend the term in order to evacuate all those entitled to it. A spokesman for the Taliban, however, said that the date of August 31st is a “red line”, which will have “consequences”.
Afghanistan, Biden: “The Taliban are helping in evacuations”
“The Taliban have taken steps to help get people out” of Afghanistan. This was stated by US President Joe Biden, speaking from the White House after the G7 summit, in which he reported that all allies agreed on judging the Taliban by their actions. “None of us will take their word for it,” he added.
“We have helped evacuate 70,700 people since August 14. This is a testament to the efforts of our brave women and men on duty, our diplomats on the ground in Kabul and the Allies who are still with us.” This was stated by the president of the United States, Joe Biden. “In the last 12 hours there have been another 19 US military flights that have transported 6,400 people evacuated. Over 50 flights and 12,000 people”, overall from the coalition countries in the last 12 hours, Biden added.
The United States will be “leaders” in the joint effort with allies to support Afghan refugees and evacuees. Joe Biden said this in his statements on Afghanistan. The American president has assured that there will be “a security screening” for all evacuated Afghans. And he urged the international community “to work together to welcome thousands of Afghans who will obtain refugee status”. “The United States – he promised – will do their part. We are working closely with refugee organizations to rebuild the system that was knowingly destroyed by my predecessor”.
Afghanistan, the World Bank freezes aid to the country
The World Bank has decided to freeze aid to Afghanistan, looking for new tools to support the population. “We have suspended payments in the framework of our operations in Afghanistan and we are closely monitoring and evaluating the situation,” said a spokesman contacted by the AFP. “We are deeply concerned about the situation in Afghanistan – he added – and its impact on the country’s development prospects, especially for women”.