But will the Afghan president's new drive to negotiate more with Pakistan achieve better results than the Taliban peace talks?
The assassination of former Afghan President Burhanuddin Rabbani scuppers any further chance of negotiation with the Taliban, which could mean a grinding war until the US withdrawal in 2014.
Former Afghan President Burhanuddin Rabbani, a prominent peace council official trying to negotiate a reconciliation deal with the Taliban, was assassinated Tuesday.
Some local Afghan officials are hoping to end the decade-long Afghan war by negotiating with the Taliban – province by province.
Neither Afghan nor American observers expect the Kabul attack on the InterContinental Hotel to shut down the peace process.
Afghanistan saw an uptick of violence as Afghan President Karzai announced that the US and the Taliban are, indeed, meeting.
Even before Osama bin Laden's killing, the Taliban were softening their image while the US, Pakistan, and Afghanistan set the stage for talks. Now the US must decide if it's worth years of further military and diplomatic effort to hammer out an agreement.
Hizb-e-Islami, a key militant group, is increasingly supporting many Afghan government priorities, such as girls' education. Such cooperation could boost peace efforts.
India-Pakistan tensions muddy US efforts in Afghanistan, where Pakistan's cooperation is needed. One key issue: Islamabad is wary of India's broadening regional role.
As Pakistan deals with the fallout from Tuesday's assassination of Punjab Governor Salman Taseer, former Afghan President Burhanuddin Rabbani met Wednesday with Pakistan's military chief to help nudge the Taliban to the negotiating table.