With the killing of Osama bin Laden by US Navy Seals on May 2, the Al Qaeda element has been relegated to a local threat. Diplomatic observers in Washington say that this single episode has reversed the present course of war from eliminating terrorism through 'military means only to negotiating with Taliban for a peaceful settlement in Afghanistan. At last, Pakistans policy of opening a corridor of dialogue with moderate Taliban to integrate them into mainstream has been recently endorsed by the US President Obama. Serious efforts have begun to identify reconcilable elements in Afghan Taliban ranks. In this connection, the US is establishing contacts with elusive Taliban leader Mullah Omar (through Tayyab Agha, a personal aide of Mullah Omar) to negotiate an end to the conflict in Afghanistan. According to the US special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, Mr Grossman, Mullah Omar is still the key to Afghan peace. The US and Afghan officials in Kabul see assistance from Pakistan as crucial to efforts to open up a communication channel with Taliban leaders. Karzai recently visited Islamabad to move Pakistan to actively encourage Taliban leaders including Mullah Omar to join the reconciliation process. According to reports, the US had offered the Taliban control over the south of Afghanistan, while leaving the north for the other political forces under American influence. This was rejected by the Taliban on the following pre-conditions: a) They will not talk peace until all 130,000 foreign troops leave the country. b) lack of clarity on reconcilable, as the US is talking to Mullah Omars aide, but on the other the Taliban leader is on the list of the five men that Americans want to be taken out. The biggest challenge is to end Afghanistan's 32 years of civil war. No negotiated peace agreement in Afghanistan will endure unless an outside interference by its neighbours comes to an end. Only and only talks among all the Afghan stakeholders and parties, including the Taliban, can do that. The American declaration of negotiated peace programme on a full withdrawal of foreign occupation forces by 2014 would be a step in the right direction based on the aspiration of Afghans. NOOR NAWAZ KHAN, Kohat, June 24.