Afghan and international forces are reported to be planning for a major military assault against the Taliban in Kunduz, a northern province, along the lines of Operation Moshtarak under way in Helmand.
Even then, the joint forces, in an effort to avoid further conflict, have asked Mullah Abdul Salam Zaeef, a former Taliban ambassador to Pakistan, to talk to the Taliban with the aim of convincing the group to lay down its arms. Zaeef, however, says there are a lot of "obstacles" in the path to peace.
They include the removal of Taliban members from UN blacklists, which includes Zaeef, and the UN recognition of the Taliban as a legitimate political group. Al Jazeera's Zeina Khodr reports from Kabul. [February 18, 2010]