Oct 9, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Taliban won't work with U.S. to rein in extremist groups

Afghan Taliban members inspect the site of an explosion at a mosque in Kunduz city, northern Afghanistan, Oct. 8, 2021.

Afghan Taliban members inspect the site of an explosion at a mosque in Kunduz on Oct. 8. Photo: Ajmal Kakar/Xinhua via Getty Images

The Taliban said on Saturday it will not work with the U.S. to contain extremist groups in Afghanistan, AP reports.

Why it matters: The remarks come as a U.S. delegation meets on Saturday and Sunday with senior Taliban representatives in Doha, Qatar.

  • This is the first in-person meeting at a senior level since the Taliban reclaimed Afghanistan, and reining in extremist groups will be a key issue on the table.

Driving the news: Taliban political spokesman Suhail Shaheen told AP that there would be no cooperation with the U.S. in quelling the increasingly active Islamic State group affiliate in Afghanistan, per AP.

  • "We are able to tackle Daesh independently," Shaheen said, using another term for ISIS.
  • The Islamic State is increasingly active in Afghanistan, and on Friday, a suicide bombing inside a Shiite mosque in northern Afghanistan killed more than 45. ISIS-K claimed responsibility for the blast.

The big picture: In the Feb. 29, 2020 agreement signed between the U.S. and Taliban, the insurgents agreed to prevent terror groups from filling the void as the U.S. began a full withdrawal.

  • Ahead of the meetings over the weekend in Qatar, a spokesperson for the State Department told Axios that the U.S. intended to push the leaders to honor their commitment not to let al-Qaeda or other extremists "use Afghan soil to threaten the security of the United States or its allies."
  • The U.S. delegation will include officials from the government's intelligence community, State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development.
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