As 2014 approaches for the full withdrawal of the US-led forces, the question of the Taliban issue remains unresolved; they are essential for a political settlement that is likely to result in long term stability. Otherwise, there is a real risk of a civil war breaking out after the US departure, as occurred after the Soviet withdrawal, when the country was left to the mercy of various tribes and warlords. In addition, the US plans to leave a counterterrorism force in Afghanistan to continue the fight against remnants of al-Qaeda, which would find difficulty to operate in a volatile environment. The negotiations are critical to get a prisoner exchange with the Taliban, who are holding the only US service member, Sgt. Bowe R. Bergdahl.