Advertisement

Milley says it's 'possible' U.S. could help Taliban fight IS-K; Austin doubts

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark A. Milley delivers remarks about the end of the 20-year military mission in Afghanistan at the Pentagon, in Arlington, Va. on Wednesday. Photo by Ken Cedeno/UPI
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark A. Milley delivers remarks about the end of the 20-year military mission in Afghanistan at the Pentagon, in Arlington, Va. on Wednesday. Photo by Ken Cedeno/UPI | License Photo

Sept. 1 (UPI) -- Army Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said Wednesday it's "possible" the United States could work with the Taliban in operations against the Islamic State affiliate based in Afghanistan, but cautioned that the "ruthless" group may not change its ways.

He made the comments during a press briefing one day after the United States ended its withdrawal and evacuation from the country. The Taliban captured the capital of Kabul in the days leading up to the United States' departure.

Advertisement

When asked by reporters whether the United States would cooperate with the new Taliban-controlled government in counterterrorism operations against the Islamic State-Khorasan Province, Milley responded: "It's possible."

He cautioned, though, that it's unclear to what extent the Taliban may change their ways, calling them "a ruthless group."

RELATED Putin on U.S. war in Afghanistan: 'The outcome is zero, if not downright negative'

"Whether or not they change remains to be seen."

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, though, said he didn't expect cooperation to continue now that the evacuation mission is over.

"We were working with the Taliban on a very narrow set of issues, and that was just that -- to get as many people out as we possibly could," Austin said. "And so I would not make any leaps of logic to broader issues.

Advertisement
RELATED U.N. warns of looming humanitarian catastrophe in Afghanistan

"It's hard to predict where this will go in the future, with respect to the Taliban."

The IS-K claimed responsibility for a suicide blast at the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul on Thursday that claimed the lives of more than 200 people, including U.S. service members. The United States responded with a drone strike that killed two leaders of the militant group.

RELATED Biden praises military for Afghanistan evacuation; Taliban celebrate

Latest Headlines