The Taliban have begun to send signals that they are interested in a negotiated settlement, potentially offering an opening for the West and the Afghan government, several Western officials said.
While there have been some meetings between the Afghan government, NATO officials and some Taliban figures — and even with someone who turned out to be a Taliban imposter — the Taliban have always insisted that NATO troops would have to leave Afghanistan before any meaningful negotiations could take place.
Now two recent statements suggest instead that they would be willing to engage in talks even with foreigners in the country.The Taliban statement, which describes how to bring an end to the war and how the Taliban will behave, includes this sentence: "The Americans and all foreign invading forces should seek a face-saving exit from Afghanistan in understanding with the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan."
The United Nations analysis notes that "this envisages talks specifically about foreign troop withdrawal."
Another statement promises that the Taliban "will abide by its commitments to the stability of the region following the withdrawal of foreign forces."