Afghanistan Tests Waters for Overture to Taliban

Afghanistan Tests Waters for Overture to Taliban - Carlotta Gall, New York Times

The Afghan government and its allies in the region have begun approaching the Taliban and other insurgent groups with new intensity to test the possibilities for eventual peace talks, Western diplomats and Afghan officials here say.

The diplomatic approaches have been stepped up over the last several months by the Afghan government, as well as by Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, the officials said. They are part of a broad political effort to stem the downward spiral of violence in Afghanistan and the steep decline of public support for the government during a year that has proved to be the bloodiest of the past seven.

Security has deteriorated to the point that a growing chorus of Western diplomats, NATO commanders and Afghans has begun to argue that the insurgency cannot be defeated solely by military means. Some officials in Kabul contend that the war against the insurgents cannot be won and are calling for negotiations...

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