US collaborates with Taliban against ISIS: it's official

At least 12 US service members were killed in a combined bomb attack and armed assault at a gate to the Kabul airport, where throngs fleeing the Taliban were desperately crowding Aug. 26. Reports indicate up to 100 Afghan civilians were killed, including children, although Taliban authorities have barred local medics from speaking to the press. A second such attack was reported from the nearby Baron Hotel, which is being used by aid workers coordinating the evacuation. The "Afghanistan Islamic Emirate," as the Taliban are now calling themselves, condemned the blasts, which are presumed to be the work of the "Islamic State-Khorasan Province" (variously rendered ISIS-K or ISKP). (NYT, Al Jazeera, Khaama)

US Central Command chief Gen. Frank McKenzie told a press briefing at the Pentagon that the US is coordinating with the Taliban in the effort to maintain "security" in Kabul: "They have a practical reason for wanting us to get out of here by the 31st of August. They want to reclaim the airfield. We want to get out by that day, too, if it's possible to do so. So we share a common purpose. As long as we keep that common purpose alive, they've been useful to work with. They've cut some of our security concerns down and they've been useful to work with going forward." (CNN) It was also revealed that on Aug. 23, CIA director William J. Burns met face-to-face in Kabul with the top Taliban leader Abdul Ghani Baradar. The "secret" meeting was reported in the Washington Post. (CNN)

Are Taliban Washington's 'creatures'?

Interviewed by Sonali Kolhatkar of the Afghan Women's Mission, the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA) states that the US was "not defeated by its creatures" (meaning the Taliban) but left due to its own "multifold internal crisis." They said that US envoy Zalmay Khalilzad "is highly hated among Afghan people due to his treacherous role in bringing the Taliban back to power." They also accused the Western "corporate media" of trying to "sugarcoat [the] brutal Taliban."

This may be overstated, but we have maintained from the start that a central imperative of the US "peace" (sic) deal has been to groom the Taliban to fight ISIS.

US drone strike targets ISIS-K

US military officials announced Aug. 27 evening that a drone strike killed an ISIS-K target in Afghanistan's Nangarhar province. The following day, officials updated that to say that two "high-profile" targets—described as "a planner and a facilitator"—were killed and one other person from the terrorist group was injured in the retaliatory strike.

"This strike was not the last," Biden said in a statement. "We will continue to hunt down any person involved in that heinous attack and make them pay." (WAMU)

US drone wipes out Kabul family: report

Ten members of one family—including seven children—are dead after a US drone strike targeting a vehicle in a residential neighborhood of Kabul, a survivor told CNN Aug. 30. 

NYT: no evidence of ISIS bomb in Kabul drone strike

US officials said a Reaper drone followed a car for hours in Kabul on Aug. 29 and then fired based on evidence it was carrying explosives. But in-depth video analysis and interviews at the site by the New York Times cast doubt on that account.

Pentagon: Kabul drone strike was 'tragic' mistake

The Pentagon has acknowledged that the Aug. 29 drone strike in Kabul that officials said was necessary to prevent an attack on US troops was a "tragic" mistake that killed 10 civilians, including seven children. "I offer my profound condolences to the family and friends of those who were killed," Gen. Kenneth F. McKenzie Jr., commander of US Central Command, told reporters at a Pentagon news conference. He said the US was "exploring the possibility of ex gratia payments" to compensate the families of the victims. The driver of the targeted car was Zemari Ahmadi, a longtime worker for a US aid group. The missile strike came as he arrived home and his children came out to greet him. (NYT)