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US commander met Taliban to seek non-interference with airport evacuation: Official

Published: Updated:

A US defense official says the head of Central Command has met face-to-face with senior Taliban leaders to urge their fighters not to interfere with the US military’s evacuation operations at the Kabul airport in Afghanistan.

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The official said that in the meeting on Sunday in Doha, Qatar, Gen. Frank McKenzie won Taliban agreement to establish a “deconfliction mechanism” — an arrangement by which evacuation operations at the airport can continue without interference by the new rulers of the country.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive talks not yet announced publicly. The official said McKenzie urged the Taliban not to interfere with the evacuation and said the US military would respond forcefully to defend the airport if necessary.

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