There’s an odd paradox at the centre of our present stance on the Taliban.  On the one hand, every minister, soldier, spokesman tells us that if the Taliban were once again involved in the governance of Afghanistan this would inevitably lead to the return of AQ there.  On the other hand, we are told that we must now begin to talk to Taliban leaders.  But if we talk to them, what will they want from us?  They will ask to have some involvement in the running of Afghanistan?

If we assume that the Taliban we will talk with are rational then it’s reasonable to conclude that they’ll understand that a resurgent AQ will ruin any chance making progress.  So the assumption that Taliban=AQ seems at best questionable, surely?