American generals and officials told The New York Times that the United States is pulling back from one of its key goals of the Afghan war, negotiating a peace deal with the Taliban.
The Times reported on Tuesday that officials have "all but written off" a peace deal, settling for a more modest goal of letting the Afghans work out a deal among themselves while foreign troops withdraw at the end of 2014.
"I don’t see it happening in the next couple years," a senior coalition officer told The Times, speaking anonymously. "It’s a very resilient enemy, and I’m not going to tell you it’s not," he said. "It will be a constant battle, and it will be for years."
The surge ordered by President Barack Obama in 2009, which added 30,000 extra boots on the ground, won back territory but failed to deal a crippling blow to the Taliban.
For a brief moment, the American strategy of pushing the Taliban into talks seemed to work as preliminary talks opened early this year in Qatar, The Times noted. However, the talks fell apart when the Obama administration could not follow through on a confidence-building prisoner swap.
More on GlobalPost: Suicide bomb kills 20 in Afghanistan
Meanwhile, NATO's secretary-general, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, told the Guardian that a withdrawal of Western forces in Afghanistan could come sooner than scheduled, as the insider attacks have taken a toll on morale.
"From now until the end of 2014 you may see adaptation of our presence. Our troops can redeploy, take on other tasks, or even withdraw, or we can reduce the number of foreign troops," he said, according to the Guardian. "From now until the end of 2014 we will see announcements of redeployments, withdrawals or drawdown … If the security situation allows, I would not exclude the possibility that in certain areas you could accelerate the process."
The Taliban-orchestrated "green on blue" attacks have killed nearly 50 allied troops this year.
A bomb blast in southern Afghanistan on Tuesday left at least one American soldier dead, said the US military, according to The Los Angeles Times. Afghan authorities put the death toll at at least 20 and identified three of the victims as American soldiers.
More on GlobalPost: Afghanistan: Attack by rogue soldier brings US death toll to 2,000