‘Get Rid Of This Menace’: Biden Admin Reportedly Considering Working With Taliban To Wipe Out ISIS

(Photo by WAKIL KOHSAR/AFP via Getty Images)

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The Biden administration is reportedly considering an unusual move — working with the Taliban to fight a branch of ISIS in Afghanistan, NBC News reported on Wednesday.

Relations between the West and the Taliban, the Islamist militia group governing over Afghanistan, have seldom ever been particularly strong or trusting. But the U.S. and the Taliban share a common enemy in ISIS-K and concerns over its alarming resurgence this year, prompting the Biden administration to discuss options in working with the Taliban to track down and ultimately destroy the terror group, two people familiar with discussions and a former U.S. official told NBC. (RELATED: KJP Attempts To Clean Up Biden’s Remarks About US Troops During Debate When Pressed By Reporter)

“There’s an internal debate about whether to try to work more with the Taliban,” a former senior U.S. official told NBC.

(Photo by JAVED TANVEER/AFP via Getty Images)

TOPSHOT – Taliban fighters atop vehicles with Taliban flags parade along a road to celebrate after the US pulled all its troops out of Afghanistan, in Kandahar on September 1, 2021 following the Talibans military takeover of the country. (Photo by JAVED TANVEER/AFP via Getty Images)

ISIS-K (Islamic State’s Khorasan Province) is one of the several arms of the ISIS terror network but was widely seen by the West as incapable of carrying out attacks, even if it wanted to, according to NBC. The calculus changed this year, however, as ISIS-K launched mass terrorist attacks on both Iran and Russia in January and March, killing hundreds of people; the group has attempted attacks in Europe this year but has been stopped.

The U.S. has limited ability to gather intelligence on ISIS-K’s moves in the region, given that the Biden administration evacuated U.S. forces from Afghanistan in 2021 in what was widely seen as a botched withdrawal that allowed the Taliban to quickly seize control over the region.

“We have a very, very limited ability to see what [ISIS-K is] doing,” a former military officer who served in the region told NBC.

Now the Biden administration is weighing the possibility of sharing more intelligence with the Taliban to get a better idea of what ISIS-K’s next moves might be, according to NBC. The Taliban sees ISIS-K as a threat to its control over Afghanistan and has engaged in conflict with the group on several occasions.

(Photo by -/AFP via Getty Images)

TOPSHOT – Taliban fighters sit over a vehicle on a street in Laghman province on August 15, 2021. (Photo by -/AFP via Getty Images)

“I think in some places, such as in eastern Afghanistan, including Kunar and Nangarhar provinces, the Islamic State people and their supporters were ruthlessly treated, but it helped us get rid of this menace,” a Taliban official told NBC, referring to ISIS and its Khorasan counterpart. Another Taliban official told NBC that he had recently traveled north to gather intelligence on ISIS’ activities, finding that ISIS-K had been moving between Syria and Afghanistan via Iran.

Some congressional lawmakers think it’s a worthwhile option to increase collaboration with the Taliban, but believe the Biden administration would need to demand concessions from the militia group first, including ensuring better rights for women in Afghanistan, according to NBC. A number of U.S. officials favor reopening the shuttered U.S. Embassy in Afghanistan to serve as a bridge for intelligence sharing between the U.S. and the Taliban.

“Sharing intelligence on shared concerns such as ISIS-K is the practical thing to do, and our group was generally supportive of ongoing U.S. government efforts to maintain such channels with the Taliban,” Asfandyar Mir, a senior expert on counterterrorism at the U.S. Institute for Peace, told NBC. “We think those can and should be upgraded.”

Publicly, however, the Biden administration is maintaining that it doesn’t have any plans to reopen the U.S. Embassy in Afghanistan for the time being, but does “engage pragmatically with a wide variety of Afghans, including the Taliban, through our diplomats based in Doha,” a White House National Security Council spokesperson told NBC.

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