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.