The Taliban are in secret talks with the Afghan government to end the war, according to the Washington Post, which cites Arab and Afghan sources. The Taliban's representatives are this time authorized to speak on behalf of Mullah Omar and other leaders and "they are very, very serious about finding a way out," one source says. The Taliban are believed to be demanding a role in government and the withdrawal of all foreign troops.
The Taliban's leadership has become more open to negotiation out of fear of being sidelined by radical elements within the movement, say the sources, who stress that talks are in the preliminary stages. European officials say the US has also become more open to the idea of a negotiated settlement after this summer's troop escalation yielded disappointing results. "We did not have consensus, and there were some who thought they could do it militarily," one official speaking under condition of anonymity said.