In Its Last Days in Kabul, U.S. Turns to Taliban as a Partner

Twenty decades back, the U.S. invaded Afghanistan to get rid of the Taliban. Right now, American forces, battered by one of the bloodiest attacks of the war, are relying for their personal safety on that exact same group, whose members they had been striving to kill just months previously.

Fighters of the Taliban’s elite Badri 313 device, dressed in the most current tactical equipment, patrol the exact same Kabul airport parking great deal as U.S. Marines, divided by a several coils of razor wire. Farther away, Taliban foot soldiers pat down Afghans searching for to enter the facility and disperse crowds with whips and occasional gunfire in the air.

The Taliban’s essential mission all-around the airport in the closing times of the chaotic withdrawal is to maintain off Islamic Point out, an even additional radical business, which killed 13 U.S. troops and approximately 200 Afghans in a suicide bombing on Thursday.

In this arrangement, the five,200 American forces in Afghanistan “use the Taliban as a resource to safeguard us as a great deal as achievable,” Gen. Frank McKenzie, head of the U.S. Central Command, said immediately after Thursday’s assault. The Taliban and the U.S., he included, now share a “common intent.”

A lot more than that: The Taliban checkpoints on the way to the airport—in coordination with the U.S.—are screening Afghans whose previous operate with Western forces places them in danger of Taliban retribution. The Taliban are “providing the outer safety cordon” for American forces, Gen. McKenzie said, and have shut some roads at U.S. request, extending the checkpoints’ perimeter.