William Patey, who has just retired from his post as British ambassador in Kabul, tells Stephen Sackur that the Taliban leader Mullah Omar could be a key player in the future of the country - provided that he wants to talk.
He says that there are lots of precedents in Afghanistan for people like Mullah Omar to have respected positions as senior ex-leaders.
You can watch the full interview on BBC World News on Wednesday 16 May at 03:30, 08:30, 15:30 and 20:30 GMT and on the BBC News Channel on Wednesday 16 May at 00:30 BST and on Thursday 17 May at 04:30 BST.
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