Embracing the Enemies We Know in Afghanistan

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Last November, the Pentagon announced that the United States now considered the Afghan Taliban an important partner in the Afghan-led reconciliation process, and as a confidence building measure, the U.S. military would no longer conduct counter-terrorism operations against Taliban militants. This revelation arguably constituted the most significant U.S. policy shift in Afghanistan since President Obama’s 2009 troop surge, with Washington cautiously acknowledging that the Taliban is integral to intra-Afghan reconciliation.<br>This offer of potential amnesty and invitation to participate in peace talks did not extend to the Haqqani Network, a consequential stakeholder in and

This offer of potential amnesty and invitation to participate in peace talks did not extend to the Haqqani Network, a consequential stakeholder in and component of the Afghan insurgency. The exclusion of the Haqqanis has proven to be a stumbling block for Afghan President Ashraf Ghani as Kabul scrambles to rekindle the peace process and broker a ceasefire with the Taliban.