Afghanistan, long acknowledged to be America's "forgotten war", has finally returned to the news of late. But this time, in a shocking twist on the now 17-year long conflict, the US is negotiating with the Taliban.
Perhaps this is why the mainstream media has by and large not given this bombshell story the coverage it deserves? Or do the major networks feel the American public has long ago stopped paying attention and will therefore yawn at any headlines containing the words 'US Troops/Afghanistan'?
As Daniel McAdams explains, last week US State Department officials met with Taliban leaders in Qatar. At the request of the Taliban, the US-backed Afghan government was not invited. The officials discussed ceasefires and an end to the war.
Meanwhile, the US inspector general charged with monitoring US spending on Afghanistan reconstruction has reported that since 2008, the US has completely wasted at the least $15.5 billion. He believes that's just the tip of the iceberg, though.
On Sunday, Reuters had this report on the latest surprising developments:
A meeting between a senior U.S. diplomat and Taliban representatives in Doha last week to discuss a possible ceasefire ended with “very positive signals” and a decision to hold more meetings, people with knowledge of the talks said on Sunday.
The meeting between a delegation led by Alice Wells, deputy assistant secretary in the State Department’s Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs, and Taliban representatives was first reported in The Wall Street Journal but has not been officially confirmed.
According to one Taliban official, who said he was part of a four-member delegation, there were “very positive signals” from the meeting, which he said was conducted in a “friendly atmosphere” in a Doha hotel.
Could we be witnessing the very beginning stages of a negotiated face-saving exit from this nearly two decade long American quagmire in central Asia?
The prospect is discussed in today's Liberty Report: