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Bloomberg

Trusting the Taliban to Fight Islamic State

The Biden administration may be doing so. But it is far from the smartest policy to pursue and would put the lives of Afghans and Americans at even greater risk.

By Bobby Ghosh

Reports from Washington and Kabul show the extent to which the Biden administration has been counting on the Taliban to facilitate the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan — and, apparently, to keep up the fight against IS-Khorasan, the local franchise of the Islamic State, after the Americans are gone. The White House and Pentagon believe that the new rulers in Kabul share their eagerness for a speedy evacuation: a “common purpose,” in the words of Gen. Kenneth McKenzie, commander of the United States Central Command. There is also an assumption that the Taliban have an implacable enmity toward IS-Khorasan.

These postulates are the basis for information-sharing between U.S. officials and their Taliban counterparts to ensure smooth passage of American citizens, green-card holders and Afghan allies through militant-controlled checkpoints outside the Kabul airport. Also, according to McKenzie, U.S. officials have for the past two weeks appraised Taliban commanders of threats to the airport, “so that they can actually do some searching out there for us.” The general has speculated that some attacks had been “thwarted” before Thursday’s twin blasts, which killed at least 75 Afghans and 13 American service personnel. IS-Khorasan has claimed responsibility for the attack, and the Taliban have condemned it.

But the assumptions underpinning the Biden administration’s decision-making in Afghanistan are, at the very least, highly questionable. It is not a given that the Taliban want a smooth U.S. withdrawal. Many in their ranks may be keen for a final chance to kill Americans, and will cheer the sight of their hated enemies badly bloodied as they scramble for the exits. The deaths of Afghans whom the Taliban regard as collaborators would not disturb their sleep.

The very nature of the Taliban makes trust untenable. That’s not the only reason it is dangerous to confide in the new rulers of Kabul. It is even more delusional to rely on them to keep IS-Khorasan and other terrorist groups at bay. 

Full story https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2021-08-27/the-u-s-may-be-relying-on-the-taliban-to-fight-islamic-state-bad-move