The US government has said in a statement that the Afghan Taliban are not neccessarily an enemy, a move that is part of a new policy to open talks with the group.
Reports say Washington will hold secret meetings with the Taliban this year.
As Barack Obama's campaign for re-election as US president gathers pace, his advisors are well aware that opinion polls show that two out of every three Americans now oppose the Afghanistan war.
But some say it could hurt Obama on the road to a second presidential term.
Al Jazeera's Tom Ackerman reports from Washington.