The Taleban are open to a general ceasefire as well as a political agreement which could lead to a US military presence in Afghanistan up until 2024, a new report by a British think-tank says.
But the insurgent group, led by Mullah Omar, will not negotiate with President Hamid Karzai or his administration, which it sees as corrupt and weak, the briefing paper by the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) says.
The report, entitled "Taleban Perspectives on Reconciliation", presents interviews with four senior Taleban representatives about their approach to reconciliation.
The paper claims to reveal an emerging, pragmatic consensus among the Taleban leadership, who are willing to take part in peace negotiations in exchange for political leverage after 2014.
NATO has about 130,000 soldiers fighting a decade-long insurgency by the Taleban, but they are due to pull out in 2014 and now work increasingly with the Afghans they are training to take over.
The report says the Quetta Shura Taleban, a council of Taleban leaders headed by Omar, will not accept the interpretation of the Afghan constitution in its current form since this would be akin to surrender.
But Taleban representatives did welcome the prospect of a US military stabilisation force operating in Afghanistan up to 2024 out of the five primary military bases - Kandahar, Herat, Jalalabad, Mazar-e-Sharif and Kabul.
However, this was only as long as the US presence contributed to Afghan security and did not constrain Afghan independence and Islamic jurisprudence, the report said.
The paper also warned any American attacks against neighbours - such as Iran and Pakistan - launched from Afghan bases would not be tolerated since it would impact on national security and invite "trouble".
The report's authors met in July with one former Taleban minister, one ex-Taleban deputy minister and founding member of the Taleban, one senior ex-mujahideen commander and lead negotiator and one Afghan mediator who had negotiated with the Taleban.
The paper was written by Anatol Lieven, Theo Farrell and Rudra Chaudhuri from the Department of War Studies at King's College London, together with Michael Semple from Harvard University's Carr Centre on Human Rights.
So far no Taleban leader has publicly endorsed the idea of a ceasefire, the report said.
The paper also found that the Taleban leadership and 'base' deeply regretted their past association with al-Qaeda, so much that once a ceasefire or political agreement were decided they would obey a command to completely renounce al-Qaeda, as long as this call came from Omar.