The Guardian article should not have used the present tense to describe US policy based on the leaked cables while ignoring its own reporting, subsequent to the dates of the leaked cables, that the US said its policy had changed.
It is commonly believed that gains in Afghnistan have been realized for women since the fall of the Taliban regime in 2001. But since the realities of such gains have their limits, it is not quite that simple.
What's generally missing from the frequent assertion, "The Taliban will not negotiate if they think they're winning" is any specific information about the Taliban that would allow us to draw this conclusion.
Reports of the US being involved with efforts to reconcile elements of the insurgency with the Karzai government are reports that provide hope, albeit cautious hope, that a more sensible and rational US policy is taking hold.
Nine years after the start of the war, the Taliban controls 70% of Afghanistan. Though it is heart-rending to consider abandoning the progress that has been made, the truth is that there simply is no military solution.
I'm pretty sure that nobody in the Obama administration believes something will come of these talks. I'm hoping that the White House staff has already prepared a plan for precisely that day when Netanyahu's bluff is called.