Just a day after a Taliban-claimed attack on the presidential palace in Kabul, Afghanistan, both the U.S. and Afghanistan indicated their continued commitment to peace talks with the organization.
OnTuesday, President Obama and Afghan President Hamid Karzai held a video conference, during which they "reaffirmed" their commitment to the promised talks. Despite the simultaneous gestures of diplomacy and the militant violence, the leaders believe talks are the best way forward. But if those talks happen, it's not clear when. Or, once they're going, precisely how the Taliban will conduct itself.
The Taliban is, essentially, trying to have it all: as the New York Times explains, their newly-opened Doha office is staffed with former officials from the Taliban's rule of Afghanistan, while fighters on the ground keep up attacks on the country's infrastructure. And on Al Jazeera, Taliban spokesperson Mohammad Sohail Shaheen more or less confirmed this by saying that they would “simultaneously follow political and military options. Because there is no cease-fire now, they are attacking us, and we are attacking them.”
As the Times notes, there are further contradictions and tensions within the group's ranks:
"[Taliban leader] Mullah Omar has, for instance, promulgated a code of conduct that among other things warns fighters not to put civilians in harm’s way. Yet their preferred weapons — suicide bombers and improvised explosive devices — are indiscriminate by their nature."
The theoretical peace talks would be led by Afghanistan. The Tuesday attacks hit the Presidential Palace and the U.S. CIA headquarters in the country.