CIA Director William Burns conducts secret talks with Taliban warlord

CIA Director William Burns had a secret meeting with the head of the political office of the extremist Taliban* movement, Abdul Ghani Baradar, The Washington Post reports on August 24 citing US officials.

According to the newspaper, the meeting took place on Monday, August 23, in Kabul and became the first meeting of such a high level between representatives of the United States and the Taliban* after the latter seized power in Afghanistan.

The CIA declined to comment on the meeting. Most likely, the parties discussed issues related to the approaching deadline for the evacuation of US military and allies from among Afghan citizens (August 31st).

As noted by The Washington Post, the very fact of the talks between the head of the CIA and Baradar looks ironic, because it was the CIA that took part in the operation to capture the militant in 2010.

The United States is to complete the evacuation of all of its citizens from Afghanistan by August 31. US President Joe Biden earlier announced that he was discussing the extension of the evacuation time for the American military and Afghan citizens who collaborated with the United States from the Kabul airport. However, representatives of the Taliban* said that the United States did not request the term to be extended and threatened Washington with a military response should the troops be withdrawn untimely. 

Abdul Ghani Baradar is a Taliban* leader and warlord. He served as deputy and close friend of Mullah Mohammed Omar and the head of the Quetta Shura council. In the late 1990s, Baradar ruled several provinces in Afghanistan as a Taliban representative. In 2002, after the US invasion of Afghanistan and the overthrow of the Taliban regime, he fled from his native province of Urzugan to Karachi, Pakistan. In 2010, as a result of the joint operation of Pakistani intelligence and the CIA, Baradar was captured. In 2018, after several years in prison, he was released.

*terrorist organization, banned in Russia