Speed Reads

a light at the end of the tunnel?

Pentagon: Secret U.S.-Taliban talks could end the war in Afghanistan

U.S. officials and "mid-level, senior-level Taliban leaders" are engaging in "intensified dialogue" in Kabul about ending the war in Afghanistan, Gen. John Nicholson, commander of U.S.-led forces in Afghanistan, told reporters via teleconference Wednesday.

"A number of channels of dialogue have opened up between the various stakeholders in the peace process," Nicholson said. "Now, what's been encouraging, is that concurrent with this intensified dialogue, we saw the levels of violence drop to lower levels ... I call this talking and fighting," he continued. "And, as [Defense Secretary James Mattis] has said, 'Violence and progress can coexist,' and that's what we're seeing."

Nicholson did not reveal the identities of the negotiators, only that they are "stakeholders" who are "engaged to varying degrees of dialogue with either those who work with the Taliban or actually some of the Taliban leaders themselves."