CRISIS IN AFGHANISTAN
CIA director reportedly holds secret meeting with Taliban leader Abdul Ghani Baradar
William Burns, the director of the CIA, secretly met with Taliban leader Abdul Ghani Baradar in Kabul on Monday, The Washington Post and NBC News report.
The meeting reportedly took place as the Aug. 31 deadline for the United States to complete its ongoing evacuation efforts in Afghanistan approaches, and the Post writes that while the CIA declined to comment on the meeting, it "likely involved" this impending deadline.
President Biden has been facing pressure to extend the Aug. 31 deadline, though the Taliban said this week that the U.S. keeping troops in Afghanistan beyond that date would cross a "red line." NBC News reports that Biden will make a decision Tuesday about whether to push the deadline back, and according to CNN, top allies are set to press him to extend it during a Tuesday meeting.
On Sunday, Biden said that "our hope is we will not have to extend," but he added, "there are going to be discussions, I suspect, on how far along we are in the process."