Pakistan: Now or Never?

On U.S.-Taliban talks, look at 2014 and work back

February 19, 2011

arghandab3According to Steve Coll in the New Yorker, the United States has begun its first direct talks with the Taliban to see whether it is possible to reach a political settlement to the Afghan war.  He writes that after the Sept. 11 2001 attacks on New York and Washington the United States rejected direct talks with Taliban leaders, on the grounds that they were as much to blame for terrorism as Al Qaeda. However, last year, he says, a small number of officials in the Obama administration—among them the late Richard Holbrooke, the special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan—argued that it was time to try talking to the Taliban again.

Academics, experts appeal to Obama to back Taliban talks

December 11, 2010

arghandabA group of academics, journalists and NGO workers have published an open letter to President Barack Obama appealing to him to support direct negotiations with the Taliban leadership.

Are the Taliban distancing themselves from al Qaeda?

November 28, 2010

nuristanThe question of whether the links between the Afghan Taliban and al Qaeda can be broken has been discussed at length over the past year or so, and will be a major factor in any eventual peace settlement with insurgents in Afghanistan.

With Karzai off to Washington, Taliban talks back in focus

May 8, 2010

marjah“The effort required to bring about a compromise was indistinguishable from the requirements of victory—as the administration in which I served had to learn from bitter experience.”

On tipping points and Taliban talks

April 25, 2010

british soldierOne of the issues that seems to arouse the strongest emotions in the Afghan debate is the question of when the United States and its allies should engage in talks with the Taliban.  Some argued that the moment was ripe a few months ago, when both sides were finely balanced against each other and therefore both more likely to make the kind of concessions that would make negotiations possible.  It was an argument that surfaced forcefully at the London conference on Afghanistan in January. Others insisted that U.S.-led forces had to secure more gains on the battlefield first.

from India Insight:

Will India’s Kashmir talks offer break fresh ground?

October 16, 2009

New Delhi said this week it will adopt "quiet diplomacy" with every section of political opinion to find a solution to the problems in India-ruled Kashmir about four years after it opened a dialogue with separatist groups there.

from India Insight:

India, Pakistan: two steps forward and four backwards?

June 19, 2009

Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari has dropped a plan to travel to Egypt next month where he was expected to hold further talks with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh following their meeting in Russia this week.

Talking to the Taliban and the last man standing

March 23, 2009

The debate about whether the United States should open talks with Afghan insurgents appears to be gathering momentum — so much so that it is beginning to acquire an air of inevitability, without there ever being a specific policy announcement.