The latest in a long line of failed “Taliban” talks is reportedly reaching a “critical juncture,” according to officials talking with Reuters, who say that they will soon know if a breakthrough is “possible.”
The latest round of talks, which is said to include “representatives of the Taliban,” has US officials considering transferring a number of Taliban detainees at Gitmo into Afghan government custody in return for “confidence building measures,” which may include agreeing to formal talks with Karzai’s government.
Previous talks of this sort have been an absolute disaster, with the representatives usually former Taliban with no real contacts to the current groups and, in one particularly embarrassing case, just a scam artist looking to bilk NATO out of money.
The Taliban has repeatedly insisted that they only want one thing out of NATO, and that is to leave. They have also repeatedly said that they would talk to Karzai only after that foreign troops leave, because while the troops remain he has no real power of his own.
Still, officials seem to be betting an awful lot on negotiations, believing that sooner or later they will find the actual Taliban and negotiate some sort of actual deal with them. Whether this is that deal remains to be seen, but officials don’t seem particularly hopeful, saying it is unlikely that the deal will lead to serious diplomacy.