Daily US Times: The Taliban has ruled out cooperation with the US to contain extremist groups, including Islamic State (IS) in Afghanistan, staking out an uncompromising stand on a key issue ahead of the first direct meetings between the US and Taliban since America withdrew from the country in August.
US representatives and senior Taliban officials are meeting this weekend in Doha, the capital of Qatar. Officials from both sides have said issues include the evacuation of foreign citizens and Afghans and reining in extremist groups from the country. The Taliban, which took control of Afghanistan in August have signaled flexibility on evacuations.
However, Suhail Shaheen, Taliban’s Doha-based political spokesman, told The Associated Press there would be no cooperation with the US on containing the increasingly active IS in Afghanistan. The Islamic State group has taken responsibility for a number of recent attacks, including a suicide bombing Friday that killed 46 minority Shiite Muslims and wounded dozens as they prayed in a mosque in the northern city of Kunduz.
When asked whether the Taliban would work with Washington to contain the IS affiliate, Mr Shaheen said: “We are able to tackle Daesh independently.”
IS has carried out relentless assaults on Afghanistan’s Shiites since emerging in eastern side of the country in 2014. It is also seen as the terror group that poses the greatest threat to the US for its potential to stage attacks on American targets.