Secret talks are under way between the Taliban and Afghanistan's shaky leader, Hamid Karzai.
This is pretty good news:
WASHINGTON — Taliban leader Mullah Omar has, for the first time, backed secret high-level talks with the Afghan government to negotiate an end to the nine-year war, the Washington Post said Wednesday.
"They are very, very serious about finding a way out," a source close to the talks told the Post, referring to the Taliban.
The Post cited unnamed Afghan and Arab sources as saying the talks were believed to involve representatives authorized by the Quetta Shura, the Afghan Taliban group based in Pakistan, and Omar.
Omar, the Afghan Taliban's one-eyed leader who is believed to be hiding in Pakistan, and other top Taliban figures have insisted for years that foreign fighters must first leave Afghanistan before peace talks can begin.
But a source close to the talks told the Post that the leadership knows "that they are going to be sidelined," and was negotiating with the government of President Hamid Karzai to ensure their positions are protected. "They know that more radical elements are being promoted within their rank and file outside their control," the source said.
"All these things are making them absolutely sure that, regardless of (their success in) the war, they are not in a winning position."
The report comes after meetings hosted by Saudi Arabia ended without success last year.
The new negotiations involve agreements to allow Taliban leaders positions in the Afghan government and the withdrawal of US and NATO forces according to an agreed timetable, the newspaper said.
Probably the only way for this horrendous war to finally come to an end is to have some sort of peace agreement between the two. It wasn't until the U.S. shelled out millions of dollars to the warring factions of Iraq that violence finally calmed down during the Sunni Awakening and maybe these "secret" talks with the one-eyed man can serve the same function. Although the "Awakening" is in some trouble now, it did help. The "surge" of cash was much more instrumental than the surge of troops. Hopefully, Karzai is taking his meds during the meetings. By the way, just to keep you up to date, the Sunnis got screwed in the latest election so there's trouble in Iraq now.
The sooner we are outta there, the better.