Talking To The Taliban

Steve Coll previews various sorts of engagement:

[T]here will probably be efforts to renew the aborted Saudi-led negotiations with Taliban leaders around Mullah Omar, which were conceived as a strategic initiative to engage the Taliban in talks that might eventually draw them into a national political settlement in exchange for a time-bound American withdrawal plan. Hamid Karzai has expressed an interest in such negotiations, although his record of succeeding in such talks, dating back to the nineteen-nineties, is not very strong. If achievable, such a settlement could certainly be desirable, if it left behind an Afghan government and army strong enough to defend the country from Al Qaeda and like groups. Such a settlement would be more durable still if it were linked to or coincided with improved relations between India and Pakistan.