It looks as though preliminary talks are taking place between US representatives and the Taliban to try to initiate a negotiated peace agreement or ‘power-sharing’ deal in Afghanistan. It would be great to believe that these peace talks could get somewhere but it seems unlikely at the moment.

The Taliban have no need to negotiate given that the allies have made clear they will be exiting Afghanistan soon in any event. They can just sit it out. The Taliban also don’t have a coherent leadership structure – how can you negotiate when you don’t really know who is leading the other team?

The Allied team is also likely to be highly disunited as there is luke-warm commitment to Karzai’s somewhat unreliable regime, and yet its involvement in any negotiations is pretty essential. In addition, the climate of the negotiation must be awful after 10 years of military action by the US and UK. This kind of “hostile” climate cannot be re-set just like that.

Miracles can happen in negotiations but the set-up here is far from ideal.