The US on Wednesday did not rule out working with the Taliban against Daesh/ISIS's Afghanistan affiliate after withdrawing from the war-torn nation.
Joint Chiefs chairman Mark Milley, the top American military official, succinctly said: "It's possible," when asked at a news conference if the US would cooperate with the Taliban against the Daesh/ISIS-K terror group.
The acknowledgment is a major development for the US, which had been at war with the Taliban for two decades in what marks Washington's longest conflict. Daesh/ISIS-K claimed responsibility for an Aug. 23 suicide bombings outside of Kabul's international airport that claimed the lives of nearly 170 Afghans and 13 US service members.
The horrific attack took place as Afghans flocked to the Hamid Karzai Airport en masse in the final days of the US extraction effort that saw more than 124,000 people ferried out of Afghanistan.
Also asked about collaboration with the Taliban against Daesh/ISIS-K, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said he "would not want to make any predictions."
The US is "going to do everything we can to make sure we remain focused on ISIS-K, understand that network," he said.
"And at the time of our choosing in the future, hold them accountable for what they’ve done," said Austin. "It’s hard to predict where this will go with respect to the Taliban."
Austin is slated to travel to the Gulf next week and he said the trip will focus on thanking regional partners "who have done so much to help save and shelter Afghan civilians."
"We're not going to take our eye off the ball. And that means relentless counterterrorism efforts against any threat to the American people from any place," he added./aa