The US and Afghanistan are in the middle of discussing what they call a Strategic Partnership Declaration for what happens after 2014. Critics, which include some of Afghanistan’s neighboring countries, describe it as the Permanent Bases Deal- or, in a much more skeptical vein, the Great Game III, comparing it to the ill-fated Russian and British rivalry in this region during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. It is certainly a complicated process that comes at a very crucial stage. Afghan officials are worried that the talks might scuttle peace negotiations with the Taliban, as the insurgents had previously demanded that foreign troops must leave Afghanistan before they will talk. Now that talks with the Taliban are already going on, it indicates that they are ready to negotiate on the timing of a pullout- but it is difficult to imagine the insurgents agreeing to a long-term US presence in Afghanistan.