Afghan president Hamid Karzai is saying that there is a significant number of taliban insurgents who are debating opting for peace rather than war. Taliban spokesmen deny that, however.
Karzai said Saturday he would be willing to meet personally with Taliban leader Mullah Omar and give militants a position in government in exchange for peace. Karzai spokesman Humayun Hamidzada on Sunday stressed that the militants would have to accept Afghanistan's constitution.
But Taliban spokesman Qari Yousef Ahmadi repeated a position he announced earlier this month, saying there would be no negotiations until U.S. and NATO troops withdraw from Afghanistan.
"The Taliban will never negotiate with the Afghan government in the presence of foreign forces," Ahmadi told The Associated Press. "Even if Karzai gives up his presidency, it's not possible that Mullah Omar would agree to negotiations."
But Karzai's spokesman said the government has information of a "serious debate" in some groups of Taliban about how long militants want to continue fighting. The U.N. and NATO have also said they see similar indications.
"They want to live in peace and have a comfortable life with their families," Hamidzada said. "There is serious debate within their ranks, but this is a process that takes time."
Why do you suppose the taliban hardliners would suddenly be open to peaceful coexistence? Well, it has something to do with life expectancy.
The death toll this week includes more than 165 militants killed during two battles between the Taliban and joint Afghan-coalition forces, and the 30 soldiers and civilians killed in the Kabul suicide bombing.
Militant attacks and military operations have killed more than 4,600 people so far this year, most of them insurgents, according to the AP count.
Hard calculus: how long until the taliban run completely out of insurgents willing to die for their twisted leaders? Of course some of the brighter ones are starting to see that there is not much percentage in continuing to lose.