L.A.Times -- U.S. Secretary of State John F. Kerry initially hailed the new Taliban office as an opportunity to bring the Afghan combatants together to work toward a negotiated peace. After Karzai’s angry reaction, Kerry called the Afghan leader Wednesday to assure him the Taliban power symbols would be removed, the State Department reported.
DAVID BROOKS@NYT -- If you live a life unshaped by the mediating institutions of civil society, perhaps it makes sense to see the world a certain way: Life is not embedded in a series of gently gradated authoritative structures: family, neighborhood, religious group, state, nation and world. Instead, it’s just the solitary naked individual and the gigantic and menacing state. This lens makes you more likely to share the distinct strands of libertarianism that are blossoming in this fragmenting age: the deep suspicion of authority, the strong belief that hierarchies and organizations are suspect, the fervent devotion to transparency, the assumption that individual preference should be supreme. You’re more likely to donate to the Ron Paul for president campaign, as Snowden did.