Senior Taliban officials and U.S. representatives are set to meet this weekend in Doha, the capital of Qatar. Both sides have agreed that there are still issues include reining in extremist groups and the evacuation of foreign citizens and Afghans from the country that need to be taken care of. The Taliban have signaled flexibility on evacuations.
However, Taliban political spokesman Suhail Shaheen told The Associated Press there would be no cooperation with Washington on containing the increasingly active Islamic State group in Afghanistan. IS 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.
Michael Kugelman, deputy director of the Asia Program at the U.S.-based Wilson Center, said Friday’s attack could be a harbinger of more violence. Most of the Uyghur militants belong to the East Turkestan Islamic Movement, which has found a safe haven in the border regions of Pakistan and Afghanistan for decades.
“If the (IS) claim is true, China’s concerns about terrorism in (Afghanistan)—to which the Taliban claims to be receptive—will increase,” he tweeted following the attack.
– Ella Breedlove