Despite very public objections from the Obama Administration, the Afghan government says it intends to go forward with plans to seek reconciliation with the Taliban’s leadership.
“If they are willing to join the peace process, then why not?” noted top Karzai adviser Masoom Stanekzai. Karzai is headline to Saudi Arabia on Tuesday and is expected to seek Saudi governmental support for the rapprochement, giving them a credible alternative to an American imprimatur.
An international conference in London last week led to the creation of a massive fund to attempt to bribe the Taliban into giving up the insurgency. Despite American support for the fund and for peace talks, they made it clear they would never allow the top Taliban leadership to take part in the talks, seemingly torpedoing the scheme.
But the Karzai government has made it clear that the Taliban leadership were the centerpiece of his plan to end the conflict, and most nations appear eager to avert decades of additional war. This means that the Obama Administration’s declaration might not be the end of this story.