So more on the negotiating-with-the-Taliban front. Karzai, feeling the pressure from his diminishing popularity, been hinting he wants to negotiate a deal to draw at least some factions of the Taliban into the national government. The whole thing has been pretty sub rosa, occurring under the auspices of the Saudis for plausible deniability, and not really believed to have been fruitful. Until now.

It’s a brief item, but the Los Angeles Times reports that the Taliban says the talks are underway:

Abdul Salam Zaeef, the Taliban’s former ambassador to Pakistan, said the hard-line militants sat with Afghan officials and Saudi King Abdullah over an important religious meal in Saudi Arabia late last month. But he denied that the get-together could be construed as peace talks.

A spokesman for Afghan President Hamid Karzai declined to comment.

Who knows where this will lead. But if Karzai decides to talk to the Taliban, the U.S. has no argument against supporting him.

Spencer Ackerman

Spencer Ackerman

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