Worries about Afghanistan continue to build in the wake of the United States’ horribly handled withdrawal that led to the Taliban terror group taking over the country back in August. This past Saturday, the now in power Taliban stated it would not even try to work alongside the United States in efforts to combat the terrorist extremism throughout the country, going on to insist that it would take care of the other terror groups like ISIS on its own.
“We are able to tackle Daesh independently,” stated Suhail Shaheen, a political spokesperson for the Taliban, while using the Arabic acronym for the terror group ISIS, stated The Associated Press.
These statements crop up just mere hours before a group of senior Taliban officials and a set of representatives from the U.S. are slated to meet up and discuss extremist groups and the evacuating of the remaining U.S. citizens and Afghans with special visas from Afghanistan. The statement from the Taliban in regards to their stance on cooperation on the containment of extremism will most definitely complicate this meeting.
Officials from the U.S. will go on to ask the Taliban to uphold its commitments to allow the last few U.S. citizens and other foreign nationals to leave Afghanistan, alongside any Afghans who helped the U.S. during the war.
“The weekend meetings in Doha are the first since U.S. forces withdrew from Afghanistan in late August, ending a 20-year military presence, and the Taliban rose to power in the nation. The U.S. has made it clear the talks are not a preamble to recognition,” reported the AP. “The talks also come on the heels of two days of difficult discussions between Pakistani officials and U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman in Islamabad. The focus of those talks was also Afghanistan. Pakistani officials urged the U.S. to engage with Afghanistan’s new rulers and release billions of dollars in international funds to stave off an economic meltdown.”
Officials from Pakistan also asked the Taliban to be much more inclusive by recognizing human rights along with Afghanistan’s minority ethnic and religious groups.
This past Friday, a bomber from ISIS attacked and killed 46 people inside of an Afghan mosque. As stated by the AP:
Afghanistan’s Shiite clerics assailed the Taliban rulers following Friday’s attack demanding greater protection at their places of worship. The IS affiliate claimed responsibility and identified the bomber as a Uygher Muslim. The claim said the attack targeted both Shiites and the Taliban for their purported willingness to expel Uyghers to meet demands from China. It was the deadliest attack since foreign troops left Afghanistan at the end of August.
Experts on the subject have expressed their worry that the attack is just the start as the Taliban-controlled government seems to be willing to try and appease China to receive economic benefits from the communist country’s Belt and Road initiative.