“In January, the United States and NATO agreed to reintegration — bringing in Taliban foot soldiers and low-level commanders — but Washington balked at full reconciliation, saying it wants to see the Taliban weakened militarily over the next six to 12 months before considering talks with its leaders.
Karzai’s representatives, however, have spent the past 12 months holding talks about talks with senior Taliban representatives in several Arab Gulf states. Taliban leaders have made clear that they want to talk directly to the United States, and Karzai knows his discussions with the Taliban cannot go further without public U.S. support and a commitment to engage. The Afghans want a clear answer from Washington that they will lead any future negotiations.
…Karzai and most Afghans fear that if Washington waits too long to decide about talking to the Taliban, control will fall to the ISI as happened in the 1980s and 1990s — when Washington abandoned Afghanistan to Russia and Pakistan but the ISI played favorites and was unable to end the civil war among Afghan factions.
Almost all Afghans, including Karzai’s Pashtun supporters, the non-Pashtun Northern Alliance and even the Taliban oppose any major role for the ISI, as do most regional powers, particularly India, Iran, Russia and the five Central Asian republics…"