The US is strongly considering negotiating with at least some elements of the Taliban, the Wall Street Journal reports. The talks, which would exclude top leaders, are part of a draft White House assessment of strategy in Afghanistan, officials say. Gen. David Petraeus, who takes over Central Command this week, supports the idea, as, to some extent, do both presidential candidates.
The US would play an active role, but talks would primarily be between the Afghan government and lower-level tribal figures. “We’ll never be at the table with Mullah Omar,” said one US official. But “we all agree on the need for the people of Afghanistan to come together,” said a White House spokesman. “It remains to be seen if some in the Taliban will … play a constructive role.”