Washington: US Army General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has hinted at possible cooperation with the Taliban in Afghanistan to fight the IS and other terrorist organisations' threat in the region. He is reported to have said that the US will seek the coordination of the Taliban, considering it as a key ally in the counterterrorism that comes around from Islamic State militants.
The General's statement is said to be a step forward for the US to further increase military engagement with the Taliban in the wake of a declared end of the war in Afghanistan. The US is said to have had coordination with the Taliban at the Kabul International Airport for over three weeks in the evacuation process.
General Milley made this on Wednesday at a Pentagon news conference with defence secretary Lloyd Austin where he said it is to be seen how the Taliban changes its attitudes which he called "ruthless".
Defence secretary Lloyd Austin is also seen as sceptical about the Taliban regime but expressed hope for a possible tie-up with the Taliban, pointing out the recent coordination the US had with the Taliban at the Kabul airport.
The US military ousted the Taliban from power in the fall of 2001 and fought against them for the 19 years that followed.
The US diplomatic presence in Kabul has been moved to Doha, Qatar. President Joe Biden has noted several times recently that the Taliban are avowed enemies of Islamic State Khorasan Province (ISKP), suggesting a shared interest with the United States.
The US saw the Taliban's declared enmity with the Islamic State Khorasan Province (ISKP) as a shared interest of both parties. President Biden has promised further targeting of the ISKP in response to the suicide bombing last week at a Kabul airport gate that killed more than 150 Afghans and 13 American service members.
Targeting Islamic State militants or other extremist groups, such as al-Qaeda, will be more difficult with no US military forces on the ground and no friendly government forces with which to share intelligence.