You’ve seen my latest guess re: the latest talking about talking to the Taliban: I say the chances of senior Taliban coming into any tent with the West is “not bloody likely”.
This seems to meshe with the views of several unnamed sources quoted or paraphrased in this article in Asia Times Online:
…. A senior Arab diplomat who has been directly involved in some backchannel negotiations with the Taliban told Asia Times Online that one of the problems any talks faced was that neither side had changed its basic position: the Taliban want an unconditional withdrawal of all foreign troops, while Western leaders want the Taliban to immediately stop all hostilities …. If …. the links between the Taliban and al-Qaeda now run deeper than is generally reported, it would rule out any chance of senior Taliban commanders being reconciled: firstly, they would not want to switch, given their newfound loyalty to Mullah Omar and al-Qaeda. And secondly, if some did conceivably seek reconciliation, they would presumably be “barred” anyway for having links to al-Qaeda. Lower-level Taliban could well be lured from the movement, but it is doubtful they would leave in sufficient numbers, and the leadership would still be intact to drive the resistance ….
For now, I’m still sticking with “not bloody likely”.