10/17/2010 07:19 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

In Afghanistan, The Exit Plan Starts With 'If'

KABUL, Afghanistan -- After nine years of war, the endgame here has finally begun.

But exactly when the endgame itself will end seems anyone's guess.

The war in Afghanistan entered a new and possibly decisive stage last week, following statements by American officials encouraging Afghanistan's elected leaders and the Taliban's military commanders to reach a settlement to end the war. The Americans said they had gone as far as to help some insurgent leaders travel to Kabul to talk.

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