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NATO supports Afghanistan-Taliban talks

world Updated: Oct 23, 2008 13:08 IST

IANS
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Stressing that military means alone cannot bring peace in war ravaged Afghanistan, NATO has said it was not opposed to talks between the government and Taliban leaders willing to lay down their arms, reports EuAsiaNews.

"If the Afghan government chooses to engage in dialogue with the Taliban, with elements of the Taliban which they consider to be reconcilable that is their decision to take," James Appathurai told reporters in Brussels on Wednesday.

He was commenting on reports that Saudi Arabia has been sponsoring talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban.

The spokesperson said Afghan President Hamid Karzai had not consulted or sought the permission of NATO to go forward.

"It is his country, a sovereign country. If he chooses to do it then NATO will support that decision," he said.

"NATO officials don't talk to Taliban and they don't have the mandate to talk to the Taliban," said Appathurai.

"I do believe there is a general sense in NATO that there will have to be a political element to the ultimate solution. We have consistently said that military means alone cannot solve it," he added.

NATO has over 50,000 troops under its mission fighting Taliban guerrillas in Afghanistan.