Army Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said Wednesday it’s “possible” the United States could work with the Taliban in operations against the Islamic State affiliate based in Afghanistan, but cautioned that the “ruthless” group may not change its ways.
He made the comments during a press briefing one day after the United States ended its withdrawal and evacuation from the country. The Taliban captured the capital of Kabul in the days leading up to the United States’ departure.
When asked by reporters whether the United States would cooperate with the new Taliban-controlled government in counterterrorism operations against the Islamic State-Khorasan Province, Milley responded: “It’s possible.”
He cautioned, though, that it’s unclear to what extent the Taliban may change their ways, calling them “a ruthless group.”
“Whether or not they change remains to be seen.”
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, though, said he didn’t expect cooperation to continue now that the evacuation mission is over.
“We were working with the Taliban on a very narrow set of issues, and that was just that — to get as many people out as we possibly could,” Austin said. “And so I would not make any leaps of logic to broader issues.
“It’s hard to predict where this will go in the future, with respect to the Taliban.”
The IS-K claimed responsibility for a suicide blast at the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul on Thursday that claimed the lives of more than 200 people, including U.S. service members. The United States responded with a drone strike that killed two leaders of the militant group.
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