The Pentagon said Wednesday that it is possible that the U.S. military will coordinate with the Taliban on future airstrikes against the Islamic State in Afghanistan.
Asked about future coordination with the Taliban, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said, “It’s hard to predict.” He added:
We were working with the Taliban on a very narrow set of issues. It was just that. To get as many people as we possibly could. I would not make any leaps of logic to a broader issue. I am immensely proud of what our troops have done to this point, and it’s hard to predict where this will go in the future with respect to the Taliban.
However, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Army Gen. Mark Milley added, “We do not 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.”
“And as far as our dealings with them at that airfield or in the past year or so, in war we do what we must in order to reduce risk to mission and force, not necessarily what you want to do,” he added.
Asked if there was “any possibility of coordination against ISIS-K” with the Taliban, Milley responded, “It’s possible.”
Austin jumped in again to say, “Going forward…I would not want to make any predictions, I would tell you that we’re going to do everything that we can to make sure we remain focused on ISIS-K, understand that network, and at the time of our choosing in the future hold them accountable for what they’ve done.”