It is likely that Pakistan and the US have finally reached some kind of resolution on how to deal with the complex relations between Afghan Taliban, the TTP, and Al Qa'eda on the one hand and between Pakistan, Afghanistan, and the US on the other. For Islamabad, this may have involved agreement on joint operations and continued intelligence sharing vis-s-vis Al Qa'eda and TTP operatives. That has brought US economic and security assistance with the release of $600 million from the Coalition Support Fund and another $200 million for the Bhasha Dam.
Entries in Mullah Mohammad Omar (3)
For an intriguing follow-up assignment, consider: How did this story come to the reporters' attention and why?
For months, the secret talks unfolding between Taliban and Afghan leaders to end the war appeared to be showing promise, if only because of the appearance of a certain insurgent leader at one end of the table: Mullah Akhtar Muhammad Mansour, one of the most senior commanders in the Taliban movement.
But now, it turns out, Mr. Mansour was apparently not Mr. Mansour at all. In an episode that could have been lifted from a spy novel, United States and Afghan officials now say the Afghan man was an impostor, and high-level discussions conducted with the assistance of NATO appear to have achieved little.
In The Washington Post, Karen DeYoung, Peter Finn, and Craig Whitlock report that the Taliban and the Afghan Government have begun discussions for an end to conflict.
Not all observers find this dramatic or promising. In response to the question of Times of London reporter Jerome Starkey, "Did we know this already or did I dream it?", an aid worker in Afghanistan responded, "I don't think you were dreaming. It's lather, rinse, repeat."
Taliban representatives and the government of Afghan President Hamid Karzai have begun secret, high-level talks over a negotiated end to the war, according to Afghan and Arab sources.
The talks follow inconclusive meetings, hosted by Saudi Arabia, that ended more than a year ago. While emphasizing the preliminary nature of the current discussions, the sources said that for the first time they believe that Taliban representatives are fully authorized to speak for the Quetta Shura, the Afghan Taliban organization based inPakistan, and its leader, Mohammad Omar.
"They are very, very serious about finding a way out," one source close to the talks said of the Taliban.