WASHINGTON — In the final days of the U.S. troop withdrawal from Afghanistan, a top American general met Taliban leaders in Qatar and warned them to keep their forces out of Kabul for a few more days or else face the threat of U.S. airstrikes.
Gen. Frank McKenzie, the head of U.S. Central Command, sat across from Taliban leader Abdul Ghani Baradar and showed him a map with a circle around Kabul, about 20 to 30 kilometers (12.4 to 18.6 miles) outside the city.
McKenzie told Baradar that Taliban fighters had to stay outside the circle or the United States would strike them. McKenzie explained the U.S. would finish its withdrawal as soon as possible and the Taliban must not interfere, three senior defense officials told NBC News.
The Taliban representatives agreed not to interfere, but pointed out they already had fighters inside the circle in some places, and those fighters would not leave.