Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley said Wednesday that “it’s possible” the US could coordinate with the Taliban on the Afghanistan ISIS affiliate, known as ISIS-K.
While the US military withdrawal from Afghanistan is complete, President Biden has threatened more airstrikes in Afghanistan against ISIS-K, who took responsibility for the suicide bombing at the Kabul airport. ISIS-K is a sworn enemy of the Taliban, and the US has coordinated the with Taliban against them in the past.
Last year, a report from The Washington Post revealed that the US was flying drones as air support for the Taliban in its fight against ISIS-K in the eastern Kunar province. The unit of the Joint Special Operation Command that was operating the drones even called themselves the “Taliban air force.”
The JSOC unit was launching these airstrikes in 2019 when the Trump administration was negotiating the Doha agreement with the Taliban. During the negotiations, Trump took a hardline approach and was bombing the Taliban at a record rate. In 2019, the US dropped 7,423 bombs on Afghanistan, the most since the US started keeping track in 2006.
Considering the US was giving the Taliban air support at the same time its war against the Taliban was raging, cooperation in the future is certainly possible. Even though the Taliban can handle the group on its own, ISIS-K is the perfect excuse for the US to keep the drone strikes going in Afghanistan.
Milley also discussed the US drone strike that hit Kabul on Sunday and killed 10 civilians, including seven children. He claimed that at least one person killed was ISIS-K and acknowledged that “others” were killed. But at this point, there’s no evidence to show that any of the people killed in the strike were affiliated with ISIS-K, and witnesses on the ground strongly deny the claim.