After 10 months of largely secretive talks between U.S. officials and the Taliban, officials say a diplomatic plan is emerging which involves measures like the release of many Taliban prisoners into Afghan government custody.
According to Reuters, the United States is considering the transfer of an unknown number of Taliban prisoners from Guantanamo Bay into the custody of the Afghan government. U.S. officials have asked the Taliban to meet the release with confidence-building measures such as denouncing international terrorism and entering formal political talks with Afghan President Hamid Karzai.
The diplomatic strategy is aimed at creating stability in the Afghan region to give the United States an opportunity to stabilize the area before the expected withdrawal of many troops in 2014. Once U.S. troops are gone, the Taliban will have less reason to negotiate. U.S. officials say if the diplomatic efforts fail now, the region could be thrown into violence in 2014.
While the U.S. – Taliban peace talks represent a shift in the attitudes of some Taliban factions, it is clear that the network as a whole is not open to diplomacy; many Taliban members have pledged to continue “sacred jihad” against NATO and U.S. soldiers.