Biden Sticks With Afghanistan Withdrawal Deadline; CIA Boss Secretly Meets With Taliban as Evacuation Deadline Looms

By CNN. President Joe Biden will stick, for now, with an August 31 deadline to withdraw US troops from Afghanistan after determining the risks of Taliban reprisal or terror attacks were too high.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Biden relayed his decision in crisis talks of the Group of 7 on Tuesday morning, making clear the decision to stick to the withdrawal timeline was in large part driven by those security risks.

“The President conveyed that our mission in Kabul will end based on the achievement of our objectives,” Psaki said in a statement. “He confirmed we are currently on pace to finish by August 31st and provided an update on progress in evacuating Americans who want to come home, third-country nationals, and Afghans who were our allies during the war.”

Psaki said Biden noted that each day the risks are getting higher in a country now controlled by the Taliban. The President made a particular point of warning of the potential for terror attacks, which has become an acute concern inside his administration, Psaki said. (Read more from “Biden Sticks With Afghanistan Withdrawal Deadline” HERE)

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CIA Boss Secretly Meets With Taliban as Evacuation Deadline Looms

By Washington Examiner. Central Intelligence Agency Director William Burns met in person with top Taliban leader Abdul Ghani Baradar during a low-publicity rendezvous in Kabul on Monday.

Burns, a former diplomat and deputy secretary of state, traveled to the war-torn capital city of Kabul in Afghanistan for undisclosed negotiations with Baradar, according to reports first shared by the Washington Post. While the CIA has remained tight-lipped about the details of the meeting, Burns’s position as CIA director and a former high-ranking member of the State Department makes him the highest-ranking U.S. official to meet with the Taliban’s top brass in the flesh.

Word of the high-level meeting between Burns, a longtime diplomat now heading the spy agency under Biden, came as the U.S. mulled extending the Aug. 31 deadline to evacuate Afghanistan.

A Taliban spokesman warned of “consequences ” if the U.S. remained in Kabul into September, but the massive evacuation effort is proving difficult, and the military is running out of time to pull out American government workers, citizens, contractors, and Afghans who served the U.S. over the last 20 years. (Read more from “CIA Boss Secretly Meets With Taliban as Evacuation Deadline Looms” HERE)

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