NATO backs Taliban talks: Sign of a shift in Afghanistan war?
NATO said Thursday that it is allowing Taliban leaders to travel to Kabul for talks with the government, suggesting that the West might be considering new options in the Afghanistan war.
NATO’s confirmation that its forces are facilitating talks between Taliban leaders and the government of Afghan President Hamid Karzai is a sign that the Afghanistan balance could be shifting from warfare to settlement – and the eventual withdrawal of Western combat forces.Skip to next paragraph
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Though those conditions have clearly not yet arrived, NATO decided to guarantee safe passage to senior Taliban leaders taking part in the talks – though NATO is not taking part in the talks itself.
It is an indication that the surge has not progressed as planned, forcing the US and its allies to open the door wider to other options, says Lawrence Korb, a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress in Washington and a former Pentagon official.
“What happened is that, even though we may have wanted things to move in a different manner, this is what Karzai wants and what he was determined to do,” says Mr. Korb.
The Western facilitation of the talks joins other recent pointers suggesting the war may be more “wind down” than “ratchet up” – with Western nations focusing on a military-to-civilian shift.