Afghanistan’s Taliban group has officially denied any negotiations or exchange of information with Russia to fight the spread of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group in Afghanistan. The group dismissed the claims on Saturday, saying they “don’t need anyone’s support to fight and eliminate the presence of ISIL”.
“We are having talks, but not about fighting ISIL. We want foreign forces out of our country, that is what we are talking about at the moment,” a Taliban spokesperson told Al Jazeera. “They [ISIL fighters] are small bunch based only in Nangarhar (province) and are not a big or a strong group that we would be threatened with.”
Zamir Kabulov, official at the Russian foreign ministry and President Vladimir Putin’s special representative for Afghanistan, said earlier this week that “the Taliban interest objectively coincides with ours”.
“I have already said earlier that we and the Taliban have channels for exchanging information,” he said in remarks carried by Russian media. “Both the Taliban of Afghanistan and the Taliban of Pakistan have said that they don’t recognise (ISIL leader Abu Bakr) Al-Baghdadi as a caliph, that they don’t recognise ISIL. Their interests coincide with ours.”