Olive Branch From the Taliban

Could the Taliban be negotiating an end to the war in Afghanistan? According to a report in the New York Times, leaders of the Taliban and other Afghan insurgent groups are talking with the Afghan government through intermediaries about peace. The talks may fall flat though, as the insurgents are demanding a timetable for an American withdrawal just as the U.S. has committed 20,000 more troops. While the Obama administration has publicly attempted to lure "moderate" Taliban fighters away from the struggle, it says it's not involved in these negotiations. On the other hand, the U.S. isn't trying to stop the talks, which Afghan officials believe is tacit support for the discussions. While the insurgents' initial conditions are nonstarters, they suggest that a political settlement may still be able to end this war.