Mr. Obama has concluded that the strategy for dealing with the Taliban should be to “degrade its ability,” in the words of one of the officials deeply involved in the discussions, so that the Afghan forces are capable of taking them on. At the same time the president’s strategy calls for “carving away at the bottom” of the Taliban’s force structure by reintegrating less committed members into tribes and offering them paid jobs in local and national military forces.
Indeed, Obama signed a budget bill several weeks ago which designates money for this very purpose. But you have to wonder why we didn't start much earlier. This is an idea that's been kicking around since the success of the Sunni Awakening in Iraq became clear in 2007.