US may work with Taliban against ISIS

The top U.S. military official said it is “possible” the United States will coordinate with the Taliban in the fight against the Islamic State, although he declined to make predictions about potential collaboration with Afghanistan’s new rulers, who could announce a new government as early as Thursday.

“We don’t know what the future of the Taliban is, but I can tell you from personal experience that this is a ruthless group from the past, and whether or not they change remains to be seen,” Gen. Mark A. Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told reporters Wednesday. “In war, you do what you must,” he added, even if it is “not what you necessarily want to do.”

American commanders worked with the Taliban to facilitate the evacuation of more than 124,000 people from Afghanistan in recent weeks. Both the United States and the Taliban share a common threat in the Islamic State, which was responsible for an attack outside Kabul airport last week that killed 13 U.S. service members and more than 170 civilians.

Taliban militants driving American Humvees showcased a lineup of weapons they captured during their blitz across the country at a parade in Kandahar celebrating the withdrawal of U.S. troops.

A helicopter with a black-and-white Taliban flag hanging from its side cruised over scores of supporters in the country’s second biggest city. A man waved to them from the sky.

Fighters with heavy machine guns stood atop military vehicles left behind by Afghan forces after 20 years of war. Dozens of men watched on both sides of the road, some saluting the militants as they passed by.

A fleet of armored SUVs drove in a single file on a highway outside Kandahar, in AFP photos on Wednesday from Afghanistan’s south, the Taliban’s traditional heartland.

The parade comes after Taliban fighters entered a hangar at Kabul airport on Monday night, posing with helicopters minutes after the last U.S. troops took off from the tarmac.

In the weeks since their victory, Taliban fighters have been flaunting the millions of dollars worth of sophisticated U.S.-made weaponry they captured from the Afghan army, though experts say it’s not clear if they can maintain and use the more complex equipment like helicopters.

Celebratory gunfire erupted in the sky over the capital after the final aircraft left, ending a chaotic evacuation of more than 110,000 people.

In the days after the U.S. pullout, videos on social media showed Taliban fans carrying coffins wrapped in American, British and French flags at a mock funeral in the eastern city of Khost.

Large crowds were out in the streets for Wednesday’s show of force in Kandahar province, where the Taliban formed in 1994 before later ruling the country for four years until 2001.

Now that they are back in power, the militants must contend with governing a country of 39 million facing a wave of displacement and cut off from key sources of funding.

Facebook helped a group of Afghan journalists- along with its employees-flee to Mexico before the last U.S. troops pulled out of Afghanistan this week.

175 Afghan nationals, composed of Facebook employees, activists, journalists and their families – including 75 children – landed in Mexico City on Tuesday, according to Mexico’s foreign ministry.

“In the process of assisting Facebook employees and close partners leave Afghanistan, we joined an effort to help a group of journalists and their families who were in grave danger,” a Facebook spokesman said Thursday. “The journalists have been welcomed in Mexico.”

Facebook declined to give further details on the evacuation effort, citing security reasons.

(Washington Post)

by Daily News Sri Lanka

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