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CIA Director William Burns testifying before a House committee in April 2021. Photo: Al Drago/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

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.

Go deeper... "A living hell": Leaked email describes Afghan refugee conditions

Go deeper

23 hours ago - World

First look: Jill Biden’s troops trip

First lady Jill Biden speaks last week at the White House. Photo: Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images

First lady Jill Biden on Monday will visit the military base that's home to pilots and aircrews who helped conduct the airlift out of Kabul to thank the service members and their families for their support in ending the 20-year war in Afghanistan.

Why it matters: When she stops at the crews' home at Joint Base Charleston in South Carolina, the first lady will be their most high-profile member from the Biden administration since the airlift ended on Aug. 31.

Gaming CEO calls on industry to help fight climate change

"Catalyst Black." Screenshot: Super Evil Megacorp

Gaming CEO Kristian Segerstrale is calling on leaders in his industry to take action on climate change, after completing a $1.4 million fundraising campaign this summer.

Why it matters: Gaming's pandemic-fueled boom creates an opportunity, and maybe even an obligation, to do some good.

3 hours ago - World

U.S. releases updated vaccination, testing rules for foreign travelers

Photo: Patrick T. Fallon/AFP via Getty Images

Foreign travelers will be allowed entry to the U.S. beginning Nov. 8 if they can provide proof of full COVID-19 vaccination with a shot authorized by the World Health Organization and a negative test within three days of departure, the White House announced Monday.

Why it matters: The updated guidance, which exempts children under the age of 18 from the vaccine requirement, is intended to provide further clarity for airlines and foreign nationals who have been restricted from traveling to the U.S. since early 2020.