THE US has given its blessing for the Taliban to be brought in from the cold with a critical step towards reconciliation as the world paused to mark the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.
Washington has endorsed plans for the Islamist network to open political headquarters in the gulf state of Qatar by the end of the year. The move has been devised so the West can begin formal peace talks with the Taliban.
As a potent reminder of the potential value of a truce with the Taliban, attacks by the Islamist network in Afghanistan yesterday left two dead and 101 wounded in a truck bomb, marking one of the bloodiest days for American forces since the US invasion 10 years ago.
The office of the self-styled Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan would be the first internationally recognised representation for the Taliban since its fall in 2001.
The White House declined to comment on the development last night as Mr Obama addressed the nation on the anniversary of the al-Qa'ida attacks. In the decade since, there has been a shift in Washington's attitudes towards the Taliban and a growing official distinction between the Pashtun nationalists and their former allies in al-Qa'ida.