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CIA director secretly met with Taliban leader

CIA Director William Burns secretly met with Abdul Ghani Baradar, the Taliban's de-facto leader, in Kabul on Monday, the Washington Post first reported.

Why it matters: Though the contents of the meeting are not known, Burns is the highest-ranking Biden administration official to meet with Taliban leadership as the U.S. races to evacuate Americans and Afghan allies from the country before the official withdrawal date of Aug. 31.

Between the lines: The U.S. is coordinating regularly with the Taliban to ensure Americans and eligible Afghans can be evacuated, but Monday's meeting is the first sign of engagement at such a high level.

The big picture: President Biden suggested Sunday that troops could remain in the country beyond the Aug. 31 withdrawal date to help evacuation efforts, though he continues to insist the plan is to complete the operation by that date.

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