The announcement that the Taliban will open a political office in Qatar marks the first public step towards negotiations with the United States. Critics argue that talks will diminish the role of the Afghan government and strengthen the Taliban.

Many believe there is no clear role for Afghan President Hamid Karzai and this could undermine his power in future negotiations. Advocates for civil society groups similarly believe that too much of Afghan society is being ignored by the proposed peace talks.

In this episode of The Stream, we talk to Fariba Nawa (@FaribaNawa), author of Opium Nation and Ahmad Shuja (@AhmadShuja), who writes the Afghanistan Analysis blog.

What do you think? Will talks with the Taliban promote national reconciliation or lead to greater divisions and conflict in Afghanistan? Send us your thoughts and comments on Facebook or Twitter using hashtag #AJStream.

These are some highlights of the conversation around the web: