US tells Taliban not to interfere with Kabul evacuation

WASHINGTON — A US defense officials 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.

The official says that in the meeting today 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 speaks on condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive talks not yet announced publicly. The official says McKenzie urged the Taliban not to interfere with the evacuation and says the US military will respond forcefully to defend the airport if necessary.

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