Talking With the Taliban
After eight years of getting nowhere in Afghanistan, U.S. and British forces have decided to open negotiations with “second-tier” Taliban leaders. Those would be local bigwigs, as opposed to Mullah Omar and friends.
Such discussions might rankle Afghan President Hamid Karzai, who already has to worry about upcoming national elections, but they may be a way forward for a country that has not known peace in a long time and has never been conquered by a foreign army.
Although it remains to be seen whether these second-tier leaders are even interested in talking.
A concerted effort to start unprecedented talks between Taliban and British and American envoys was outlined today in a significant change in tactics designed to bring about a breakthrough in the attritional, eight-year conflict in Afghanistan.
Senior ministers and commanders on the ground believe they have created the right conditions to open up a dialogue with “second-tier” local leaders now that the Taliban have been forced back in a swath of Helmand province.