Mmm ... tunes change ...
In 2001, the Americans blurred the lines between the Taliban/Al Qaeda and in the process also confused Pashtoon interests with terrorism. It was always complex, but the net result is, nine years later, Pashtoons feel unrepresented, out of favour and vilified. The London Conference on Afghanistan is primarily about handover/withdrawal - call it what you like. At least that is the mood today.
From the BBC:
Talking with the Taliban is emerging as the big issue at the London conference. At first glance, it appears a simple idea - weaken the insurgency by luring away low and mid-level Taliban fighters. This - it is argued - could be done by offering jobs and a general amnesty for the insurgents. But it will be difficult - if not impossible - to pull off.
Part of the problem is that international forces (and the Afghan government) are struggling to understand who they are fighting and what is actually fuelling the insurgency here. And that raises the question: if you do not fully understand who you are fighting, can you hope to win them over?
Photograph from the Boston Globe