US Envoy Meets Taliban, Seeks Longer Troop Presence

Asks Taliban to approve another 3-6 months of occupation

With the Biden Administration continuing to talk down the May 1 deadline date for leaving Afghanistan, Special Envoy Zalmay Khalilzad has met with Taliban leaders to discuss possible dates later in 2021.

Reports are that Khalilzad raised possibilities of putting the withdrawal date off for another three or six months after May 1. The Taliban has not publicly responded, but was previously said to want to hold the US to the date agreed to.

At any rate, the Taliban is pushing for the release of some 7,000 prisoners being held in Afghanistan, and wants to be removed from a UN blacklist, and they want that done before they hold any discussions on a pullout date.

Biden has recently doubted the US could withdraw by May 1, but also said he doesn’t picture the US still being in Afghanistan next year. Though no one seems to agree exactly what this means, Biden has said that the US “will leave – the question is when.”

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.