As foreign troops draw down and a new president takes office, the sort of dealmaking among Afghans that could promote stability might actually grow easier. A triumphant Taliban march on Kabul – or even their old stronghold of Kandahar – is unlikely.
The Taliban attacks could threaten the credibility of the presidential vote. One international poll monitoring group has pulled its observers due to violence, and more could follow.
The Taliban attack came as guests at Kabul’s highly fortified Serena Hotel, many of them foreigners, celebrated Nowruz, the new year. Nine people, including two children, were killed.
A suicide attack on a police station in the eastern city of Jalalabad left at least 10 police officers dead. A presidential election is due on April 5.
The Taliban have tried to undermine every election since US-backed forces took power in 2001. The Interior Ministry claimed that 95 percent of polling stations will open on election day.
Pakistan's government has sent conflicting messages about its strategy – from military action to peace talks – for dealing with the Pakistani Taliban.
The Pakistan military is constructing a base in the Swat Valley to ward off threats from the Pakistan Taliban and spillover conflict from Afghanistan.
Nasiruddin Haqqani served as the chief fundraiser for the Haqqani network, which has ties to the Taliban and Al Qaeda.
A spokesman for the Pakistan Taliban said they would launch revenge attacks against Prime Minister Sharif's government in retaliation for the death of their former leader by US drone strike.
The short answer is 'no.' But there are worrying signs to be found in US auditing of its own contracting practices in Afghanistan.
The Taliban is trying to set itself up as a legitimate party, angering the Afghan government which has put peace talks on hold.
A helicopter carrying foreign nationals made an emergency landing due to poor weather conditions in Afghanistan, where they were seized by the Taliban.
The shooting of 14-year-old Malala Yousufzai by a Taliban gunman has shocked Pakistan and led to some extraordinary writing in the press on how Islamic radicalism is enabled. On the back foot for years, liberals are getting a new hearing against extremist religious parties, the powerful military, and a populist anti-US politician.
Since the Soviet occupation, Islamist fighters have used poetry to express their passions, doubts, and determination. 'The Poetry of the Taliban' was released in the US this week.
Afghanistan's President Karzai encouraged the Taliban to disarm and join the political process. His police, meanwhile, have been blaming the group for the public execution of a woman.