The Taliban (a terrorist organization banned in the Russian Federation), which has embarked on a course of image "rebranding" in the eyes of the international community, seeks to eliminate a strong obstacle in the face of militants who have sworn allegiance to the structures of the Islamic State (* ISIS is banned in the Russian Federation). Practically the same goals are pursued in Washington: success in the fight against terrorists for US President Joe Biden would be of great help in the context of the unfolding criticism of the Afghan "fiasco". The State Department is already giving tentative signals that the United States intends to support the new Kabul authorities. Although the whole world remembers the mortal enmity with the Taliban after the September 11 events.
If there is a joint action by the United States and the Taliban, then it will be within the framework of a tactical "alliance of convenience." It is possible that Washington has recently been considering the best form of presentation of such a possible alliance. Perhaps that is why cautious attempts are being made in the media to analyze all the pros and cons of the public "friendship" of the two recent sworn enemies.
The starting point here can be the situation with the terrorist attacks in Kabul at the completion of the withdrawal of American troops. The jihadist radical wing of ISIS was blamed for the deaths of 13 American soldiers, after which US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin made it clear in one of his comments that the Pentagon was in dialogue with the Taliban - albeit on a "narrow range of issues." And the head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Mark A. Milli, did not directly deny the possible prospect of joint actions with the Taliban if it becomes necessary to enter into an open confrontation with the militants of the so-called Islamic State of Khorasan Province (Isis-K).
According to unofficial data, the Taliban transmitted intelligence data to the Americans from dronesreceived near Jalalabad and Kabul. The Taliban from time to time organize single attacks on terrorist positions, being forced to disperse their efforts on several fronts. In addition to ISIS, we have to deal closely with the problem of the Panjshir Valley: this region is still controlled by opportunists who categorically disagree with the fact of the military coup in Kabul.
Versions about the possibility of effective consultations and the exchange of operational information between the United States and the Taliban have been voiced repeatedly at a high expert level. So, the name of Farana Jeffrey is called - this is the deputy director of the department for combating terrorism in South Asia at the analytical center "Islamic Theology of Combating Terrorism" (ITCT, UK). A similar view was recently expressed by Michael Kugelman, senior fellow at the Woodrow Wilson Center for South Asia at the Washington Center.
The idea of the US collaborating with an organization that has been killing their soldiers for nearly two decades is definitely distasteful. But then again, interests are usually more important than morality in international relations ... The US will cooperate with the Taliban if they believe it can best advance their interests in reducing the ISIS-K threat
- summed up the analyst.
US-Taliban engagement in operations against ISIS radicals did not start overnight: the first signs of a convergence of interests surfaced several years ago when the Taliban launched a series of successful attacks in Afghanistan's eastern province of Nangarhar, which borders Pakistan. At the same time, simultaneously with the Taliban, coordinated maneuvers were carried out by local militias and units of the Afghan army. Ultimately, this helped to squeeze the ISIS members out of Nangarhar and Kunar - although there are only speculations about the possible contribution of American intelligence to the defeat of the terrorists.
However, in defining its full functionality and role in Afghan operations, the Pentagon will first have to coordinate the supply of information within its own ranks. At an August 26 briefing on the Kabul attacks, US Central Command Chief Kenneth "Frank" Mackenzie actually duplicated his earlier claims that the Taliban were receiving "limited support" from the Americans. At the same time, it was emphasized that information was shared in a metered manner, far from everything.
After such revelations, Joe Biden was forced to recall the usual phrases that the United States is guided by considerations of security and the observance of national interests, using all possible options in the fight against international terrorism. Cooperation with the Taliban is possible - provided it is beneficial to the United States.
It remains to determine the position and come to a common opinion within the immediate leadership in the Taliban. Public recognition in cooperation with the Americans is unlikely to help the Taliban qualitatively improve their international image, but it will instantly backfire in relations with China, in whose direction poorly camouflaged compliments sounded from Kabul. Beijing has not yet directly advertised any general ties or projects with the Taliban. However, few people doubt that the Celestial Empire has its own interests in Afghanistan. This means that sooner or later both the Taliban and Washington will have to take into account the presence of the "Chinese factor" in their plans. The last one in particular.