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Trump administration to seek direct talks with the Taliban

General John Nicholson
General John Nicholson, who leads US and NATO forces in Afghanistan, speaks to reporters at Bagram Air Base, about 60km north of the Afghan capital Kabul. Photo: THOMAS WATKINS/AFP/Getty Images

The White House has ordered top U.S. diplomats to pave the way for direct negotiations with the Taliban, signaling a shift in strategy toward attempting to formally end the 17-year war in Afghanistan, reports the NYTimes.

Why it matters: The Taliban has repeatedly refused to hold direct talks with the Afghan government, a long-standing impediment to the U.S. strategy of an “Afghan-led, Afghan-owned” peace process. The reversal comes on the heels of reports that President Trump has been frustrated by the lack of progress on the ground.

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