During their well-scripted news conference at the White House, both Karzai and President Obama said they favored a process of outreach to the Taliban. And both presidents endorsed, as a start, the "peace jirga" that Karzai will host in Kabul in several weeks.

Qari Mohammad Yousuf, the purported Taliban spokesman in Afghanistan, or someone using his name, recently found his way to Facebook, one of the most used social network web sites in the world.

March 30, 2010

If the news reports are true, India’s willingness to talk to the Taliban would represent a seismic shift in strategy for New Delhi and underlines the concern that the Congress-led government has over Pakistan’s influence in any Afghan end game.

As the U.S. military and its NATO allies intensify their campaign against the Taliban in Afghanistan, the Obama administration also is revamping its messaging in the region with a robust strategic communications strategy employing new technologies to fight extremism.

The dialogue is being held at a crucial juncture, when Pakistan is poised to play a critical role in Afghanistan where US-led international troops are battling a determined Taliban insurgency.