Taliban Rule Out Cooperation With U.S. to Contain Islamic State

The Taliban said Saturday that they will be able to address the Islamic State on their own, and won't work with U.S. officials to rein in the extremist organization, which has recently ramped up attacks in Afghanistan.

"We are able to tackle Daesh independently," Taliban political spokesman Suhail Shaheen told the Associated Press, using the Arabic acronym for the terrorist group.

The Taliban's statement comes a day after the Islamic State Khorasan, or ISIS-K, claimed responsibility for an attack at a mosque in Afghanistan Friday that killed 46 Shiite Muslims and wounded dozens more, according to the AP. The group has consistently targeted Shiite Muslims in Afghanistan.

"This deadly incident has caused trauma among Shiites and other sectors of the society," Sayed Ahmad Shah Hashemi, a Shiite community leader in Afghanistan, told The New York Times. Hashemi said believes more than 70 people were killed in the bombing.

Following the attack, which was carried out by a suicide bomber in the Afghan city of Kunduz, Shiite religious leaders criticized the Taliban and asked for greater protection for worshippers, the AP reported.

It was ISIS-K's second assault against the mosque in days, according to the Times, and the deadliest by the organization since the incident at the Kabul airport in August. That attack, which came as the U.S. was wrapping up its evacuation from the country, killed roughly 170 civilians and 13 American troops.

Taliban Rule Out Cooperation With U.S.
The Taliban said Saturday that it will be able to address the Islamic State on their own and won't work with U.S. officials to rein in the extremist organization, which has recently ramped up attacks in Afghanistan. Above, a member of the Iraqi forces walks past a mural bearing the logo of the Islamic State (IS) group in a tunnel that was reportedly used as a training centre by the jihadists, on March 1, 2017, in the village of Albu Sayf, on the southern outskirts of Mosul, Iraq. Ahman Al-Rubaye

Days ago, ISIS also carried out an attack at a mosque in Kabul that killed several people, the Times noted.

The Taliban's announcement on Saturday also comes as officials from the group and U.S. representatives are slated to meet in Doha, Qatar, marking the first talks since the U.S. military has evacuated from the country.

Officials are expected to discuss issues including containing extremist groups, and the U.S.'s ongoing efforts to evacuate American and Afghan citizens from the country.

According to CNN, a State Department official said that during the meeting, the U.S. would prioritize "holding the Taliban to its commitment not to allow terrorists to use Afghan soil to threaten the security of the United States or its allies."

Officials said that the meetings did not mean that the U.S was recognizing the Taliban as the legitimate governors of Afghanistan, the AP reported.

Newsweek has reached out to the U.S. Department of Defense for comment on Saturday but did not hear back in time for publication.