The United States reportedly turned down an offer from the Taliban to take over control of Kabul while evacuating thousands of personnel, citizens, and green card-holders, and others.
The Taliban offered to let the United States take over control of Kabul while the terror group would remain outside waiting on President Joe Biden’s self-imposed withdrawal deadline of August 31 for the U.S. The United States turned down the offer, giving Kabul over to the Taliban while retaining control of Hamid Karzai International Airport, according to The Washington Post.
As the Taliban surrounded the city in mid-August, then-Afghan President Ashraf Ghani secretly fled the city, leaving behind members of his cabinet and government and surprising Afghan and American officials alike. In the president’s absence, the city’s governance collapsed, and the U.S. and Taliban entered unusual, face-to-face negotiations about the city’s future.
As the Post reported:
In a hastily arranged in-person meeting, senior U.S. military leaders in Doha — including McKenzie, the commander of U.S. Central Command — spoke with Abdul Ghani Baradar, head of the Taliban’s political wing.
“We have a problem,” Baradar said, according to the U.S. official. “We have two options to deal with it: You [the United States military] take responsibility for securing Kabul or you have to allow us to do it.”
Throughout the day, Biden had remained resolute in his decision to withdraw all American troops from Afghanistan. The collapse of the Afghan government hadn’t changed his mind.
McKenzie, aware of those orders, told Baradar that the U.S. mission was only to evacuate American citizens, Afghan allies and others at risk. The United States, he told Baradar, needed the airport to do that.
On the spot, an understanding was reached, according to two other U.S. officials: The United States could have the airport until Aug. 31. But the Taliban would control the city.
The Taliban were left in charge of policing the city. Last week, another terror group, the Islamic State affiliate ISIS-K, launched an attack on one of the airport’s main gates, the Abbey Gate. A suicide bomber detonated in the middle of a crowd of people attempting to access the gate. Other militants engaged in a gun battle with troops.
Thirteen U.S. service members were killed in the attack along with dozens of Afghan civilians. In response, the U.S. conducted two strikes against purported ISIS-K targets. The first strike took out a planner for the group. The second strike killed 10 Afghan civilians, including children, all from one family, according to a relative.
As The Washington Post reported:
The dead were all from a single extended family who were exiting a car in their modest driveway when the strike hit a nearby vehicle, said Abdul Matin Azizi, a neighbor who saw the attack. Azizi, 20, said the explosion occurred as the family returned home Sunday afternoon around 4:30 p.m.
Azizi said he ran next door to help and found a gruesome scene, the air thick with smoke. “The bodies were covered in blood and shrapnel, and some of the dead children were still inside the car,” he said.
U.S. Central Command said the strike Sunday destroyed an Islamic State car bomb that posed an “imminent” threat to Kabul’s airport. It acknowledged reports of civilian casualties but did not release specifics. The attack is the second U.S. drone strike on Afghanistan in response to a suicide bombing and gunfire attack outside Kabul’s airport on Thursday.