While the US has pledged to work toward a negotiated settlement with insurgents, some insiders say the US is pulling back from that.
State Department officials say they continue to push for Afghan-led talks and reconciliation, taking steps to pave the way for potential negotiations.
“And through all of this, we continue to be clear that we remain open to talks,” said a US State Department official who is not authorized to speak to the media. “At this point, it is up to the Taliban to fulfill its obligations.”
But many Afghans involved in the process say they’ve seen a marked reduction in the international community’s interest level in talks that have so far seen insubstantial progress.
“Maybe they’re thinking that their efforts are not going to have any positive effects, and they’re thinking that there can only be a change in the peace efforts after 2014,” says Maulavi Shahzada Shahid, a member of the High Peace Council who says he senses a pullback.
The 2010 Peace Jirga, when Afghan leaders from throughout the country came together to discuss how to bring an end to the conflict through talks with the insurgency, made the peace process a central aspect to finding a solution to the Afghan conflict. On the heels of that jirga President Hamid Karzai created the High Peace Council to continue as a special outreach group, and supported the formation of a number of internationally funded reconciliation and reintegration programs.