Given that a military victory in Afghanistan is impossible for the West to achieve, the only option is a negotiated solution of some kind. This is difficult for a number of reasons;

– The West and in particular the US needs to accept that a negotiated solution is not necessarily a defeat

– The Taliban will need to be included in any such negotiated solution

– There are many other stakeholders in any such negotiation, and all their needs will have to be addressed – not least a local population large parts of which appears to be hostile to the West, anti-Taliban, and very sceptical of their own corrupt Government.

For all these challenges though, the only alternative to negotiation is indefinite military intervention or the abandonment’s of the West’s hopes of ever creating a stable Afghan regime which is not a home to extremism.

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