What We Will Do
OpenLife Nigeria can reports that despite the celebrated diplomatic moves by the Joe Biden-led United States of America government to weigh options in the total evacuation of US troops from Afghanistan, the Taliban insists that August 31 remains August 31 and a day longer will spell doom for the Americans.
To the Taliban, a day longer than August 31 will translate to “A clear violation” and abuse of grace extended to the US.
The “US must adhere to removing troops from Afghanistan by this date, otherwise, we will be forced to embark on our designed mission,” they averred.
This is partly the outcome of the meeting on Monday when the Director of CIA, William J. Burns met face-to-face with the top Taliban leader in Kabul.
CIA, Central Intelligence Agency, is the principal foreign intelligence and counterintelligence agency of the U.S. government.
This happened even when the US continues airlifting American citizens and its Afghan allies out of Afghanistan by a looming.
The Biden administration has been in regular contact with Taliban officials throughout the course of the evacuation process, both on the ground in Afghanistan and in Doha, Qatar.
But the covert meeting, earlier reported by The Washington Post, between Burns and Taliban co-founder and deputy leader Abdul Ghani Baradar amounts to the highest-level direct exchange of views since the militant group took control of the capital.
The meeting also underscores the view inside the administration that they need a clearer understanding of where the Taliban stands on several issues as the clock ticks towards the August 31 deadline to withdraw troops from the country, the official said.
Credible information revealed that the meeting occurred at President Joe Biden’s direction, which reflects the view inside the administration that Burns is the most seasoned and one of the most trusted veteran diplomats on Biden’s team.
Another official called the meeting “an exchange of views on what needs to happen to be done” by August 31.
Meanwhile, the US has evacuated thousands of people from the Kabul airport who are fleeing the country as the Taliban resumes control. But the process has been chaotic and deadly.
While Biden remains confident that the US will complete its mission by August 31, he revealed Sunday that discussions are ongoing about potentially extending the deadline, but the Taliban signaled Monday that they view that date as firm.
The Taliban has described August 31 as a “red line” and threatened consequences if the White House moves to delay the US withdrawal.
Meanwhile, Biden is expected to face pressure from foreign allies to extend the timeline.
Reports have it that the US military is advising Biden that he must decide by Tuesday whether to push the deadline beyond August 31, according to a defense official directly familiar with the discussions. The President has yet to publicly commit to such a move.
The Biden administration has been reliant on the Taliban to cooperate with the evacuation efforts, and national security adviser Jake Sullivan said Monday that the US is in talks with the Taliban “on a daily basis” through political and security channels.
After the Taliban retook control of Kabul, Baradar, who heads the group’s political committee, had returned to Afghanistan last week after having been out of the country for 20 years.
The Taliban’s chief negotiator, Baradar and then-Secretary of State Mike Pompeo were among the witnesses for the US and Taliban’s signing of a historic agreement last year, which had set in motion the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan.