Afghanistan: end game interrupted?

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Since our posting of 3 July fighting between NATO forces and the Taliban has continued and the Taliban office in Doha has been closed. On 8 July the New York Times reported that a videoconference between Presidents Obama and Karzai designed to defuse tension ended badly with Karzai accusing the US of trying to negotiate a separate peace with both the Taliban and their backers in Pakistan, leaving Afghanistan exposed to its enemies. Obama was said to be giving serious consideration to speeding up the withdrawal of US …