The Taliban announcement that it would open an office in Qatar is a first step toward talks. But history shows that negotiated withdrawals are often designed to test the patience of the departing Army.
The Taliban claim responsibility for recent Kabul attacks, but the US pins blame specifically on the Pakistan-based Haqqani network in what some see as a bid to salvage Taliban peace talks.
Insurgents have targeted Kabul landmarks before, but this attack’s proximity to the city’s most secure zone raises questions about Taliban infiltration into even the most sensitive ranks.
The claim adds to a series of mixed messages that are complicating the Taliban's efforts to become an accepted, legitimate political force in Afghanistan's government.
A resurgent Taliban took responsibility for the attack on the British Council in Kabul, which came on the anniversary of Afghanistan's independence from Britain nearly a century ago.
Navy SEALs and Afghan troops were killed over the weekend in a helicopter crash south of Kabul. Navy SEALs, along with other US special forces, have been very involved in the war on terrorism.
The Taliban claimed responsibility for Saturday's deadly crash of a US military helicopter, and many Afghans say they doubt NATO's ability to turn back what appears to be fresh momentum for the Taliban.