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How Is Taliban Playing in US Game?

31 Jul 2022 02:18

Islam Times - Afghanistan neighbors and some trans-regional countries gathered recently in Uzbekistan for a two-day meeting to discuss the crisis-stricken country's security and political conditions. While the Taliban was invited to the meeting to make arrangements for cooperation with Kabul to help solve the problems, the group surprised all. Amir Khan Mutaghi, the acting foreign minister of the Taliban government, on the sidelines of the conference said that the group released 1,800 prisoners of the ISIS terrorist group. The remarks proved frustrating to the neighboring countries that since Taliban assumption of power were busy seeking ways to remove the grounds that facilitate deterioration of the crisis in Afghanistan.

Although the Taliban government has not accepted the accusations of freeing ISIS prisoners since coming to power, these statements are a clear confession from this group, proving that it has taken a softer approach towards this terrorist group. Although the Taliban claims that it has managed to control the activities of ISIS, since the Taliban came to power in the past 11 months, dozens of terrorist attacks by the ISIS have been carried out in Afghan cities, in which hundreds of people have been killed and injured. Therefore, it seems that the Taliban government has left the ISIS free to run rampant in Afghanistan. 

Having in mind that many of the terrorist operations in Afghanistan in recent years have been carried out by the ISIS and this Takfiri group has taken responsibility for them, it seems that contrary to the promises they made in the past year about fighting terrorism and preventing the threat of terrorist attacks from Afghanistan's soil against its neighbors, as well as the commitment to look at Sunni and Shia citizens equally and to form an inclusive government, the Taliban is moving a different way. Additionally, the Taliban recently said that it commits to the agreements it signed with the previous US government, something overshadowing the neighboring countries' belief that the Taliban is reliable and can be worked with. 

Although the ISIS members were released from prisons during the capture of Kabul by the Taliban, the announcement of their release in the current situation and at the international summit in Tashkent shows that the Taliban is trying to scare the countries of the region by announcing this news and put strains on them for recognition of its rule. After all the regional countries are very worried about the spread of terrorism from Afghanistan and are doing their best to eliminate these threats. If 1800 militants regain power in Afghanistan, they can bring the whole region to a new crisis, and since the countries of Central Asia are prone to absorption into these radical groups due to poverty and widespread promotion of Salafist ideas, the revival of ISIS can be detrimental to all of regional states. 

Everything serving the US interests 

The strengthening of ISIS in Afghanistan is a scenario that the US has designed since several years ago to create insecurity on the borders of Iran, Russia and Central Asia, and in fact, the Taliban's flexibility towards this takfiri group poses a threat to the Taliban government itself, because this action questions the legitimacy of the Taliban on the domestic and international stage, as well as the power of this group to continue ruling in Afghanistan. In addition to the neighboring countries, the Taliban itself will fall victim to this policy and the only gainer is Washington that can deal blows to its rivals with the lowest cost. 

The statements about the release of the ISIS fighters that immediately follows agreements with the US officials to unblock part of Afghanistan assets in foreign banks is meaningful and promotes the theory that Washington plans to play with ISIS card in the region. Given the fact that that after the war in Ukraine, the US is trying to hit and isolate Russia in the world with any means, the ISIS can be one of the options of the White House to make Russia's borders insecure. Therefore, the Taliban's admission of this issue is a form of self-exoneration, pretending that it has already freed the ISIS and if this group gains power in the future, the Taliban is not to blame for the incident and the regional states should not think that the group made agreements with the US in this regard. 

Reports published in recent years suggest that a majority of ISIS members in Afghanistan are Pashtuns, the same ethnic group from which the Taliban rises. Therefore, some Taliban-aligned groups rate ISIS an insider and part of the broader fundamentalist network. This mindset, held by some groups of the Taliban in Pakistan like Lashkar-e-Taiba and Haqqani Network, cause pessimism among the people about Taliban promises for justice, security, and fight against terrorism. The ISIS has killed thousands of Afghans with terrorist attacks in the last few years and there is a general hatred against this group in the Afghan society, and the Taliban's tolerance of ISIS has led to the separation of Afghans from the new rulers and their interim government. 

Taliban's release of ISIS terrorists for new power gain in Afghanistan is a play in the US game through which Washington seeks to undermine the triangle of rivals China, Russia, and Iran. However, the Taliban leaders are aware that the Afghans and the new government pay the costs of emergence of ISIS and the West does not suffer. 

Story Code: 1006874

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