As Afghan President Hamid Karzai comes to Washington to meet with President Obama and other U.S. officials this week, there is renewed discussion in Afghanistan about the possibility of a negotiated end to the country's war.
Recent talks hosted by France have rekindled hopes for some sort of reconciliation between the Taliban and Karzai's government. But given the decades of war in Afghanistan, many think the prospect of a peace deal remains nothing but talk.
Nearly two years ago, Afghan President Hamid Karzai ordered that gun-toting private security companies in his country be brought under state control. But the Afghan force to replace the foreign-funded contractors is off to a rocky start.
According to the U.S. Special Inspector General for Afghan Reconstruction (SIGAR), the new force will increase security costs for USAID projects and could even shut some of them down, at a loss of about $899 million. USAID in Kabul disagrees, and the dispute has gone public.