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A Decade In The Making: U.S.-Taliban Peace Deal Appears Within Reach

In the fall of 2010, U.S. officials secretly met a young Taliban representative outside the southern German city of Munich. Tayyib Agha, a member of the militant group's political wing, presented the U.S. diplomats with a road map for a negotiated end to the war. It was not the United States' first contact with the Taliban. Since the U.S.-led invasion toppled the Taliban regime in 2001, the militant group had sought a channel with Washington. There had been contact between U.S. and Taliban military commanders. But the 2010 meeting, brokered by Germany, was a turning point in the conflict. "For the first time, both the Taliban and the United States had some degree of seriousness in seeking talks towards a political settlement," Jarrett Blanc, a former diplomat who was involved in former President Barack Obama administration's negotiations with the Taliban, tells RFE/RL. "Even then, people knew enough to know that we weren't going to 'win the war.'" But in the intervening years, meaningful U.S.-Taliban talks failed to take off, hampered by mutual mistrust, missed opportunities, protests by the Afghan government, and the deaths of two successive Taliban leaders........................

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