The Taliban can be instrumental in defeating Islamic State in Afghanistan if it stops being a threat to the Kabul government and joins forces with the Afghan army, Russia’s special envoy to the country told RT.
The Western-backed Afghan government is seeking to make peace with the Taliban following 18 years of deadly animosity, but a deal between the bitter rivals could actually go far beyond a ceasefire, according to Zamir Kabulov, Russia’s long-serving presidential envoy for Afghanistan. The common enemy – namely Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) – is a factor that may put them on the same side.
If the Taliban… joins hands with the Afghan army and police, they will eliminate [Islamic State] on Afghan soil.
Though unlikely at the moment, such a powerful alliance “can crush any foreign terrorist organization on its soil,” Kabulov said. The Taliban has demonstrated its distaste for IS militants when they began spreading in some of Afghanistan’s provinces, but over the years the mutual hostility evolved into open confrontation.
Some low-ranked Taliban commanders did defect to IS, but such cases were occasional, the diplomat noted. In general, the militant movement declared Islamic State to be the “enemy of the Afghan people and Islam,” making any alliance between the two virtually impossible.