US Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Doesn’t Rule Out Coordination with Taliban on Strikes

There is a possibility that the United States would seek to coordinate with the Taliban, if needed, on counterterrorism strikes in Afghanistan against Islamic State militants or others, US Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman, Army Gen. Mark Milley, said without elaborating or suggesting immediate plans for such cooperation, Arab News reports

Though it was a matter of convenience and not a sign they will pursue, or even want, a regular relationship in the future, US military commanders already coordinated daily with the Taliban over the evacuation of the US citizens and Afghan refugees in past three weeks via the Kabul airport.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has also suggested that the recent cooperation with the Taliban at Kabul airport isn’t necessarily a model for a future relationship.

President Biden has noted several times in the past the shared interest with the Taliban as sworn enemies of the IS groups in Afghanistan- especially ISIS-K that killed scores of Afghans and 13 American service members in the suicide bombing last week – but the extent and nature of the potential relationship with them is one of the key issues to be worked out.

Though Biden has promised further targeting ISIS-K and the other extremist groups, such as al-Qaida, that could prove challenging considering the absence of US military forces on the ground and the lack of friendly government forces to share intelligence on extremist networks with.

Also, the US diplomatic mission in Kabul has been moved to Doha, Qatar at the moment, and it’s not clear if the Taliban, now that they have regained power in Kabul, would be willing to work with the US military or the CIA.

Meanwhile, analysts believe that the Taliban could provide opportunities for terror groups to flourish and threaten targets inside and outside Afghanistan because although theyconsider ISIS-K a threat, questions still loom over its ties with al-Qaeda.

Historian and political commentator Dan Lazare claims it’s unclear if al-Qaeda and IS will turn their anger against the US and NATO allies or will turn it inwards by subjecting Afghanistan to civil war.

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