- The Taliban will not cooperate with the US to eliminate extremist groups like the Islamic State from Afghanistan.
- “We are able to tackle Daesh independently,” a Taliban spokesperson said, using an Arabic acronym for the Islamic State.
- The comment comes as attacks from the Islamic State continue to rock the country.
The Taliban on Saturday said it would not cooperate with the US on eliminating extremist groups like the Islamic State from Afghanistan.
“We are able to tackle Daesh independently,” Taliban spokesperson Suhail Shaheen told the Associated Press, using an Arabic acronym for the Islamic State.
The remarks from Shaheen come just ahead of negotiations and talks between Taliban and US officials.
The talks, taking place in Qatar on Saturday and Sunday, mark the first time the two parties have entered direct negotiations since the US evacuation efforts from Afghanistan in August.
Shaheen, who is based in Doha, told the AP that the officials will discuss a peace agreement between the Taliban and the US. The agreement, signed in February 2020, stipulates that the US will begin withdrawal of its troops from Afghanistan and the Taliban “will not allow any of its members, other individuals or groups, including al-Qa’ida, to use the soil of Afghanistan to threaten the security of the United States and its allies.”
Concerns about terrorist networks being harbored in Afghanistan grew after the Taliban seized control of Kabul. Senior defense officials had warned that these groups could swiftly rebuild, finding a safe haven in Afghanistan under Taliban rule.
Days after Kabul fell to the Taliban – and as the US made a chaotic withdrawal from the country – Biden quickly downplayed terror threats from groups like Al Qaeda, saying the “threat from terrorism has metastasized.”
“There’s a greater danger from ISIS and al-Qaida and all these affiliates in other countries – by far – than there is in Afghanistan,” he said in August.
The Islamic State has claimed a series of attacks in Afghanistan since the US withdrew its troops.
During mass evacuations in August, an explosion caused by a suicide bomber near Kabul’s airport killed over 160 Afghans and 13 US service members. Islamic State’s Khorasan branch, ISIS-K, claimed responsibility for the attack, according to US officials.
Biden, in a press conference following the attack, said, “It’s in the interest of the Taliban that ISIS-K is not metastasized.”
“We are counting on them to act in their own self-interest,” Biden told reporters, referring to the Taliban. “And it’s in their interest that we leave when we said we would. There is no evidence thus far from our commanders in the field that there has been collusion between Taliban and ISIS.”
Since then, the militant group has claimed responsibility for a bomb detonation on Friday at a crowded mosque in northern Afghanistan. The AP reported that at least 100 people were killed or wounded in the attack, which targeted Shiite Muslim worshippers in the city of Kunduz.