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US confirms and backs Afghan talks with Taliban

The US on Thursday confirmed the Afghanistan government was talking to some Taliban leaders and said reconciliation was always a part of the solution and that it will do whatever it can to support it.

world Updated: Oct 16, 2010 00:55 IST
Yashwant Raj

The US on Thursday confirmed the Afghanistan government was talking to some Taliban leaders and said reconciliation was always a part of the solution and that it will do whatever it can to support it.

“We have always acknowledged that reconciliation has to be a part of the solution ultimately in Afghanistan, and we will do whatever we can to support that process,” said US Secretary of Defence Robert Gates.

He was addressing a news conference with secretary of state Hillary Clinton in Brussels, where they were for a joint meeting of NATO defence and foreign ministers.

“We support what the Afghans are doing,” said Clinton.

The distinction being made is only this: these talks are Afghan led, and the US is only supporting it. And that the Afghans should be driving as they have to take charge of the solution process some day.

But there is no clarity on which Taliban leaders the Afghans are talking to. Some reports have said it is the Quetta Shura, which is at the core of the Taliban insurgency, and, therefore, the hardest to crack yet.