CIA director William Burns secretly met Taliban leader Abdul Ghani Baradar in Kabul. The two met yesterday, Monday 23 August 2021, while in the capital of Afghanistan the United States are managing the complex evacuation operations from the country, which has returned for eight days under the control of the Islamic fundamentalist group. To reveal the meeting is the US newspaper Washington Post, which cites as a source a US official heard anonymously.
The CIA, the US intelligence agency, did not comment on the indiscretion. In the face to face Burns and Baradar allegedly discussed the date of the final withdrawal of Western troops from Afghanistan.
Under the agreement reached between the United States and the Taliban, demobilization should be completed by 31 August, but there are still tens of thousands of Afghans and foreigners to be brought across the border. The European chancelleries – in particular London, Paris and Berlin – are pressing on the American president, Joe Biden, for a postponement of the deadline, but the Taliban have warned that, in this case, there will be consequences.
Baradar, co-founder of the Taliban, is considered the new de facto president of Afghanistan, after the Islamic fundamentalist group regained control of the country on 15 August.
He was the right-hand man of Mullah Omar, the historic leader of the movement who died in 2013 of tuberculosis. In 2010 he was captured in Pakistan in a joint operation between the ISI, the Pakistani secret service, and the CIA, but in October 2018 the United States led by President Donald Trump released him and gave him the task of mediating the agreement with the Taliban for the US exit.