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In recent months Kabul, Washington and the Taliban have made overtures to work out a negotiated settlement for Afghanistan and plan the impending exit of foreign troops from the country. Yet those gestures have not been followed through and the prospects are not getting any better – as the spate of recent violent episodes and perverted behaviour of some US soldiers over the war dead have shown. Time is running out and any further episodes will exacerbate the tension that flared up with the Qur’an burning, the March 2012 massacre of 17 civilians, and the most daring Taliban attack on 15 April 2012 of five locations in as many provinces. Washington wants to plan an orderly exit from Afghanistan, secure agreements to curb terrorism further escalating, and plan for an orderly election. All three parties seem to share these objectives.
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