The director of the CIA secretly met the leader of the Taliban – Joe Biden is considering whether to extend his deadline for withdrawing US troops from Afghanistan.
NBC News, citing a senior diplomat and another source, reported that the US President sent his intelligence chief, William Burns, to Kabul to meet with the armed group’s co-founder and political leader Abdul Ghani Baradar on Monday.
It is not yet known what the two discussed during the diplomatic meeting at the highest level since the Taliban took control of the capital.
The CIA declined to comment on the talks.
The leaders are expected to discuss the approaching refugee crisis and the collapse of the Afghan government.
They will also discuss whether President Biden’s August 31 deadline for the complete withdrawal of US forces can be extended to allow more people to be evacuated.
US officials have not commented on whether an extension is possible, but a Taliban official He warned of the consequences of foreign forces remaining after the withdrawal date.
Crowds of Afghans rushed to the tarmac last week, some clinging to a US military plane as it took off, then dying.
At least seven people were killed that day, and seven more were killed on Sunday in a panicked stampede.
Michelle Bachelet, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, has warned of credible reports of “summary executions” and restrictions on women under Taliban control.
Ms. Bachelet urged the Human Rights Council to take “bold and strong action” to monitor the situation in Afghanistan.
“At this critical moment, the Afghan people are looking to the Human Rights Council to defend and protect their rights,” she said.
“I urge this Council to take bold and strong action, commensurate with the gravity of this crisis, by establishing a dedicated mechanism to closely monitor the evolution of the human rights situation in Afghanistan.”
Ms. Bachelet cited reports of “summary executions” of civilians and former security forces, the recruitment of child soldiers and restrictions on women’s right to move freely and girls’ right to go to school.
It also noted the suppression of peaceful protests and expressions of dissent.