After two decades trying to destroy the Taliban, Western powers face the wrenching decision of whether to deal with the Islamist insurgents who have taken over Afghanistan.
The Taliban already appear set to enjoy a warmer international reception than their draconian 1996-2001 regime did, with Russia, China and Turkey praising the militants' initial public statements.
The US military and diplomats have spoken to the Taliban to ensure evacuations from Kabul but President Joe Biden's administration said it will look at Taliban actions to decide on the longterm relationship.
"A future Afghan government that upholds the basic rights of its people, that doesn't harbor terrorists and that protects the basic rights of its people including the basic fundamental rights of half of its population -- its women and girls -- that is a government that we would be able to work with," State Department spokesman Ned Price told reporters Monday.
EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell put it bluntly Tuesday: "The Taliban have won the war, so we will have to talk with them."
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