Expect more posturing over Afghanistan
So the rumour mill makes another grind in the Great Afghan Talks About Talks About Talks merry-go-round.
Mostly people tend to keep quiet for fear of destabilising a process that is anything but stable.
But the latest news that President Hamid Karzai will hjold talk with the Taliban in Saudi Arabia within weeks are, true or not, a sign that Kabul wants to wrest control amid influence on all this from Washington.
The Afghan government was feeling left out. Outflanked. Senior US diplomats were forced to fly in and deny “absurd rumours” that the Americans wanted to partition the country.
Kabul was very openly unhappy about Qatar as a possible talks venue. So what’s really happening with Saudi is Kabul sending a message to Washington that it has its own leverage, its own approach, its own involvement.
All in all, watch and wait for the Taliban statement many confidently expect soon.
Will they renounce “international terrorism” as the US demands? Will they get their prisoners out of Guantanamo Bay? And will they recognise the Karzai regime in Kabul at all?
Once you see movement on this you can start taking matters seriously. Till then, expect much more of this posturing and positioning from all sides.