The US and Afghan governments have begun secret three-way talks with the Taliban according to an influential American newspaper.
The Wall Street Journal says the Afghan President Hamad Karzai has confirmed talks have taken place and that the Taliban are "definitely interested" in a peace settlement.
The Taliban fighters are said to be united behind their leader, Mullah Omar.
These talks could test the strength of that unity like never before.
Al Jazeera's Bernard Smith reports from Kabul.