It is now accepted that talks with the Taliban will form some part of the ISAF/NATO strategy for bringing down troop levels in Afghanistan. It is unclear, however, about what that means in practice. Much has been written about the issue of ‘talking to terrorists’ and there are numerous examples of other conflict zones where a similar process has occurred. What, if anything, can be learned from places such as Northern Ireland, Sri Lanka, Colombia or the Basque Country, which led to very different experiences? More importantly, what can be learned from the experience of previous instances of talks/negotiations with the Taliban to this point?
This study will draw on a diverse range of expertise – including those with field experience in Afghanistan, and those with expertise on other conflict zones – and offer a series of policy recommendations for what might constitute the most effective political strategy in Afghanistan.