France24 reports that the U.S. will shortly begin direct talks with the Taliban:
Senior US officials said on Tuesday that representatives will begin formal talks with the Taliban "within a few" days at a new office in Doha, Qatar.It really matters little whether the Taliban renounce Al Qaeda or not--Al Qaeda is already well established in other countries, and the Taliban will renounce any agreement with the U.S. as soon as they find it convenient. Besides, I doubt that the Taliban have a central leadership capable of enforcing any agreements among its "members." It is more of a philosophy than an organization.
The Afghan Taliban opened the office to help restart talks on ending the 12-year-old war, saying it wanted a political solution that would bring about a just government and end foreign occupation.
Senior Barack Obama administration officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorised to speak on the record, described the office opening to AP as a stepping stone to full Taliban renouncement of al Qaeda.
The galling thing, of course, is that once the U.S. agreed to Afghanistan adopting a secular, Sharia based constitution, there was no point in continuing the war against the Taliban. At the point, we had failed in the goal of producing a stable, Western style government. I don't blame our military on bit--they have done an exemplary job. Hopefully the soldiers, sailors, marines and airmen that have served in Afghanistan have planted lasting seeds of hope and civilization. But, in the short term, Afghanistan is headed into another civil war.
The other major failure of the Administration is to wean Afghans off of growing opium for a cash crop. So, with the Taliban eventually regaining control over much of the country, we can expect the drug trade to continue unabated.