CIA director secretly met with Taliban leader Mullah Baradar

CIA director held secret meeting with Taliban leader in Kabul

US Central Intelligence Agency chief William Burns held a secret meeting in Kabul with Taliban co-founder Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, the Washington Post reported Tuesday.

CIA Director William J. Burns held a secret meeting in Kabul on Monday with Baradar in the highest-level face-to-face encounter between the Taliban and the Biden administration since the militants seized the Afghan capital, the Washington Post reported, citing unnamed US officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity,

Burns is one of US President Joe Biden’s most experienced diplomats; while Baradar, who headed the Taliban’s political office in Qatar, is one of the top leaders in the regime that has taken power in Kabul.

A spokesperson for the CIA would not confirm the meeting to AFP, saying that the agency “never discusses the director’s travels.”

In his meeting with Burns on Monday, Baradar faced one of America’s most seasoned diplomats, a former deputy secretary of state who has also served as US ambassador to Russia, the Post said.

As director, Burns oversees a spy agency that trained elite Afghan special forces units who had been viewed as a potent force in the country, but were also implicated in extrajudicial killings and human rights violations.

On Monday, before details of the secret meeting emerged, State Department spokesman Ned Price was asked about why senior US officials hadn’t engaged with Baradar given the stakes in Afghanistan.

Price said “our discussions with the Taliban have been operational, tactical, they have been focused largely on our near-term operations and near-term goals what is going on at the airport compound that is what we’re focused on at the moment.


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