The U.S. has committed an “intelligence failure” in its effort to reach a separate peace with the Taliban that would keep al-Qaeda out of Afghanistan, according to a report by New York University’s Afghanistan Regional Project. In investigating the bonds between the two groups, Kandahar-based researchers Strick van Linschoten and Felix Kuehn found that the U.S. missed some key clues from the Taliban that the Afghan group may want to loosen ties with al Qaeda. “In our analysis, there is interest among the Taliban,” van Linschoten wrote in an email to Wired. “A call on them to make the first step, however, when the U.S. and other stakeholders lack any significant initiative, seems unlikely to produce results.” The report details the “complicated” relationship between the two groups, going back to the Taliban’s discomfort with al Qaeda’s agenda pre-9/11.
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FILED UNDER: Afghanistan