I don’t really know what to make of this, but here’s the latest from Afghanistan:
Britain’s special envoy to Afghanistan, known for his scepticism about the western war effort and his support for peace talks with the Taliban, has stepped down just a month before a critical international conference in Kabul. Sir Sherard Cowper-Coles has taken “extended leave”, a spokesman for the British high commission in Islamabad said today. He has been replaced on a temporary basis by Karen Pierce, the Foreign Office director for South Asia and Afghanistan.
….Cowper-Coles, who also had Pakistan in his remit as special envoy, clashed in recent months with senior NATO and US officials over his insistence that the military-driven counter-insurgency effort was headed for failure, and that talks with the Taliban should be prioritised.
Presumably the U.S. approach can now proceed without any kibitzing from doubters. In related news, the Washington Post’s Rajiv Chandrasekaran reports that some Afghan villagers are starting to revolt against the Taliban, and on Sunday Rahm Emanuel confirmed that Obama still plans to begin the U.S. military drawdown in July 2011, as planned.