The U.S. held secret meetings with the Taliban in an effort to guarantee the stranded Americans safe passage, the Washington Post revealed in a report on Tuesday.
“CIA Director William J. Burns held a secret meeting Monday in Kabul with the Taliban’s de facto leader, Abdul Ghani Baradar, in the highest-level face-to-face encounter between the Taliban and the Biden administration since the militants seized the Afghan capital, according to U.S. officials familiar with the matter who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive diplomacy,” the Post reported.
“President Biden dispatched his top spy, a veteran of the Foreign Service and the most decorated diplomat in his Cabinet, amid a frantic effort to evacuate people from Kabul international airport in what Biden has called ‘one of the largest, most difficult airlifts in history’.”
“The CIA declined to comment on the Taliban meeting, but the discussions are likely to have involved an impending Aug. 31 deadline for the U.S. military to conclude its airlift of U.S. citizens and Afghan allies,” the Post added.
The Washington Post report confirms that it is now policy under the Biden administration to negotiate with terror regimes over the safety of Americans. The report notes that Baradar had been previously imprisoned for his role in terrorist operations, but now is bargaining with the CIA over the safety of U.S. civilians and Afghan allies.
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“For Baradar, playing the role of counterpart to a CIA director comes with a tinge of irony 11 years after the spy agency arrested him in a joint CIA-Pakistani operation that put him in prison for eight years,” the Post noted.
Despite the denials from the White House at a press conference on Monday that Americans were “stranded,” House intelligence chair Adam Schiff revealed the upshot from a classified briefing that it appears doubtful the Biden administration will be able to procure them all from the volatile situation.
“House Intel Chair Adam Schiff just left a classified intel briefing on Afghanistan and broke a significant amount of news,” CNN’s Ryan Nobles reported on Twitter. “Here are some of the highlights.”
“First he said getting all Americans and allies out of the country by 8/31 is unlikely,” Nobles reported.
“Given the number of Americans who still need to be evacuated, the number of SIVs, the number of others who are members of the Afghan press, civil society leaders women leaders, it’s hard for me to imagine all of that can be accomplished between now and the end of the month,” Schiff said.
Then, Rep. Schiff said he was concerned about the security of the airport in Kabul: “I think the threat to the airport is very real and very substantial and this has been a concern of mine for, for some days now that this would make a very attractive target for ISIS.”
The Biden administration negotiating with terror regimes would continue the legacy of the Obama administration. When the Iranians took Americans hostage, Obama officials were confirmed as paying nearly $1.8 billion to secure their release.
The United States has thus far borne the brunt of evacuating Afghan refugees. Al Jazeera reported on the situation Sunday, drawing on broad-based reportage.
The United States has evacuated at least 17,000 people, but only a fraction of this number — 2,500 people — have been American citizens. It is currently unknown how many Americans remain stranded in Afghanistan, but current reports cast doubt on evacuating them all by the August 31 deadline. The Taliban has warned there will be “consequences” for performing evacuations and rescue missions after the deadline.
The CIA negotiating with a known terror leader is sure to resurface accusations that a U.S. administration is paying “ransom” to terrorists not to harm Americans. It is yet another indicator that U.S. foreign policy is now being run by people who are intentionally signaling weakness.
OPINION: This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion.