Reconciliation talks in Afghanistan between the government and Taliban insurgents are less formal than full-fledged peace negotiations, U.S. special envoy Richard Holbrooke said in an interview broadcast Sunday.
In comments to CNN's "Fareed Zakaria GPS" program, Holbrooke said the contacts so far involve "an increasing number of Taliban at high levels" who have approached President Hamid Karzai's government to talk about possible reconciliation. FULL POST
WASHINGTON - Less than a year from the scheduled start of
withdrawing some troops from Afghanistan, opinions remain varied about exactly what will happen when the transition begins at the end of June 2011.
The Obama administration has made clear some troops - no one can say how many - will start withdrawing by next July from stable areas where Afghan forces can provide security.
However, questions over how to measure success and whether the almost 9-year-old war is worth the continuing U.S. investment in lives and resources are gaining prominence as congressional mid-term elections approach in November.
In interviews with military and political leaders broadcast Sunday,
scenarios presented on what happens next year ranged from guarded optimism to serious concern. While most views followed expected party talking points, all appeared grounded in the common belief that success is vital even as they differed on what it would be.
U.S. enemies seem to be competing to garner credit for last week's suicide bombing that killed seven CIA officers in Afghanistan. The varying claims of responsibility from Taliban groups in Afghanistan and Pakistan may be both complementary and competitive as militants seek to spread the word and attract fresh donations and recruits, analysts said Sunday.
"It's a tremendous boost for any group out there that can claim killing CIA" officers, said Richard Barrett, coordinator of the United Nations Taliban and al Qaeda Monitoring Team. Details about Wednesday's attack are murky.