Afghan negotiator cautiously optimistic on peace prospects

KABUL - One of Afghanistan's top peace negotiators said he was cautiously optimistic about prospects for reconciliation with the Taliban and that all sides now realized a military solution to the war was not possible.
Mohammad Masoom Stanekzai also told Reuters that the Kabul government hoped to transform the Afghan Taliban into a political movement. He predicted the highly lethal Haqqani militant network would join the peace process if the Afghan Taliban started formal talks.
Signs are emerging that the Afghan government is gaining momentum in its drive to persuade the Taliban to lay down their arms before most NATO combat troops pull out by the end of 2014, a timeline that makes many Afghans nervous.