A report due to be published tomorrow on the dangers of talking peace with the Taliban, written by Matt Waldman for the US Institute for Peace, recommends that the Afghan-international coalition should engage in direct or indirect talks with the Taliban, but that the latter organisation is divided and has within it groupings whose objectives vary enormously.
In Dangerous Liaisons with the Afghan Taliban: The Feasibility and Risks of Negotiations, Waldman says that confidence building with the Taliban may involve delisting and releasing insurgents - already happening if my previous story is true - while ensuring careful control and reciprocity.
He correctly notes that any agreement could threaten human rights and freedoms, particularly for women. He says any power-sharing settlement will need to be inclusive, just and must address the underlying causes of the conflict.
This report is the third on a similar subject by Waldman this year. His first, Golden Surrender, was written for the Aghan Analysts Network and the second, The Sun and the Sky, was for the London School of Economics. That report was criticised in some quarters for alleging that up to seven members of the Taliban's ruling shura were ISI agents.
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