Michael Hughes: The opposing sides of the ethno-nationalist conflict in Northern Ireland had engaged in talks for more than 15 years before reaching a historic peace settlement in 1998. Contrast this with the prospect that – within six days – an Afghan-turned-neoconservative cowboy and a group of Pakistani-backed radical Islamist insurgents negotiated a “framework agreement” that could end the 17-year war in Afghanistan. It is reasonable for one to meet these allegations with a heavy dose of skepticism – if not outright disbelief – and yet in many ways it all makes perfect sense. So far the deal looks horrible for the long-term stability of Afghanistan. Click here to read more.