Representatives from the Biden administration and the Taliban are meeting in Doha, Qatar, this weekend to negotiate issues including the return of Americans still not being allowed to leave Afghanistan as well as possible cooperation with the Taliban in controlling extremist groups that may threaten Western interests.
The Taliban appear ready to negotiate most of the outstanding issues between the U.S.and the terrorists, but they have stated flatly that there will be no cooperation in battling extremist groups like the Islamic State. Other terrorist groups like the Haqqani Network and al-Qaeda are allied with the Taliban and are, presumably, off-limits.
The non-cooperation is surprising when it comes to containing the Islamic State. The terrorists took responsibility for blowing up another mosque on Friday, killing 46 Shiite Muslims and wounding dozens more in Kunduz.
“We are able to tackle Daesh independently,” Shaheen said, when asked whether the Taliban would work with the U.S. to contain the Islamic State affiliate. He used an Arabic acronym for IS.
IS has carried out relentless assaults on the country’s Shiites since emerging in eastern Afghanistan in 2014. It is also seen as the terror group that poses the greatest threat to the United States for its potential to stage attacks on American targets.
The Syrian government thought it didn’t need any help battling ISIS and ended up losing a third of its country.
The Taliban wants the United States to release billions of dollars in international aid to stave off an economic meltdown. It would also cement the Taliban’s power as they selectively dole out the aid to their warlord allies and other friends. Various mechanisms to prevent aid from being used in this fashion ultimately depend on the goodwill of the Taliban, which will oversee the disbursement of the funds. All we’ll be doing is strengthening the terrorists’ position if we hand them the cash.
The bomb blast in Kunduz that killed 46 worshipers was carried out by an Uyghur Muslim. China had been urging the Taliban to expel the Uyghurs who had been planning terrorist attacks on China from inside Afghanistan.
Michael Kugelman, deputy director of the Asia Program at the U.S.-based Wilson Center, said Friday’s attack could be a harbinger of more violence. Most of the Uyghur militants belong to the East Turkestan Islamic Movement, which has found a safe haven in the border regions of Pakistan and Afghanistan for decades.
“If the (IS) claim is true, China’s concerns about terrorism in (Afghanistan)—to which the Taliban claims to be receptive—will increase,” he tweeted following the attack.
Supporting Uyghur, Haqqani, and al-Qaeda terrorists is not a way for the new Taliban government to win friends and influence people.