There are signs the US-led coalition in Afghanistan may consider negotiation as a way out of the conflict with the Taliban.
This week, officials from Afghanistan and Pakistan have been meeting local Pashtun leaders at a mini-summit, or jirga-gai, in Islamabad.
They agreed to open talks with militant groups including the Taliban who were ready to renounce violence.
Former Afghan Foreign Minister and current head of the jirga council Abdullah Abdullah told a press conference after the jirga-gai:
“We agreed that contacts should be established with the opposition on both sides, joint contacts through the jirga-gai. Apart from whatever else is happening in that regard, joint contacts will be established through jirga-gai by using other influential figures to the opposition groups in both countries.”
An un-named US official said that Washington would go along with the plan, although it publicly remains sceptical of its success.
Taliban leaders have rejected the offer as worthless, but with the insurgency made up of many disparate factions, some groups could be more willing to negotiate.
The out-going British commander in Afghanistan said earlier this month that the war could not be won militarily.