The director of the CIA (United States intelligence agency), William Burns, secretly met in Afghanistan with Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, one of the co-founders of the Taliban and political head of the extremist group, according to The Washington Post.
The meeting took place in Kabul on Monday (23) and is the biggest meeting between the government Joe Biden and the Taliban since the extremist group took over the Afghan capital and returned to power after 20 years.
William Burns, director of the CIA (US intelligence agency), during the Senate Intelligence Committee hearing in Washington, February 24, 2021 — Photo: Tom Williams/Pool via Reuters
Sought out by the newspaper, the CIA refused to comment on the meeting with the Taliban. According to The Washington Post, Burns is the most decorated diplomat in Biden’s cabinet.
Baradar led the Taliban’s peace agreement with the US during the Donald Trump administration, and also negotiated in Doha, Qatar, a ceasefire with the former Afghan government, before its fall.
He had been arrested in 2010 in Karachi, southern Pakistan, and was released in 2018 at Trump’s request to participate in peace talks.
Zalmay Khalilzad, US envoy for peace in Afghanistan, and Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, leader of the Taliban delegation, shake hands after signing a peace agreement in Doha, Qatar, in February 2020 — Photo: Ibraheem al Omari/Reuters
The co-founder of the extremist group returned to Afghanistan last Tuesday (17th), after more than ten years in exile (see the video below).
It was the first time a high-ranking Taliban leader had publicly returned to the country since 2001, when they were expelled by the US after the 9/11 attacks.
VIDEO: Taliban leader Abdul Ghani Baradar disembarks from plane upon arrival in Afghanistan
Biden’s decision to send the US intelligence chief to the meeting comes amid a frantic effort to evacuate by next Tuesday (31) Americans and Afghans who cooperated with troops in the country.
Thousands of Afghans are still trying to escape the country, in a race against time (see the video below). A makeshift camp outside Kabul airport has about 13,000 people.
Afghans race against time to leave the country amid the explosion of Taliban violence