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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.

Go deeper

Oct 19, 2021 - World

WHO, UNICEF to launch polio vaccine drive in Afghanistan

Afghan boys return to their homes after attending school in Chashma Dozak area of Badghis province on Oct. 16. Photo: Hoshang Hashimi/AFP via Getty Images

The World Health Organization and United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) will launch a house-to-house vaccination campaign to inoculate children in Afghanistan against polio, the UN announced Monday.

Why it matters: The campaign, which begins Nov. 8 with the Taliban's backing, is the first such vaccine drive in over three years to reach all Afghan children, the press release noted.

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Giuliani associate Lev Parnas convicted of campaign finance crimes

Lev Parnas, a former associate of then-President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Florida businessman Lev Parnas was convicted Friday on charges of conspiracy to make foreign contributions to political campaigns, according to multiple outlets.

Why it matters: Prosecutors said Parnas, then an associate of former President Donald Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, funneled over $150,000 from a Russian businessman into U.S. campaigns as part of an effort to land licenses in the U.S.'s legal cannabis industry.

Supreme Court agrees to hear challenges to Texas abortion law

Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

The Supreme Court on Friday agreed to hear two cases challenging Texas' abortion law, which bans the procedure as soon as six weeks into pregnancy, but left the law in place in the meantime.

Why it matters: The court is moving extraordinarily fast on the Texas cases, compressing into just a few days a process that normally takes months. And that schedule means the court will take up Texas' ban a month before it hears another major abortion case — a challenge to Mississippi's own 2018 ban on abortions after 15 weeks.