U.S. Aims for 2012 Talks With Taliban After Hiatus

by
December 30, 2011

From FOXNews.com

WASHINGTON – The Obama administration hopes to restore momentum in the spring to U.S. talks with the Taliban insurgency that had reached a critical point before falling apart this month because of objections from Afghan President Hamid Karzai, U.S. and Afghan officials said.

One goal of renewed talks with the insurgents would be to identify cease-fire zones that could be used as a steppingstone toward a full peace agreement that stops most fighting, a senior administration official told The Associated Press — a goal that remains far out of reach.

U.S. officials from the State Department and White House plan to continue a series of secret meetings with Taliban representatives in Europe and the Persian Gulf region next year, assuming a small group of Taliban emissaries the U.S. considers legitimate remains willing, two officials said.

The U.S. officials spoke on condition of anonymity to describe the sensitive and precarious U.S. outreach to the Taliban leadership.

The U.S. outreach to the Taliban this year had fits and starts but had progressed to the point that there was active discussion of two steps the Taliban seeks as precursors to negotiations, the senior U.S. official said. Talks are on an unofficial hiatus at Karzai’s request, U.S. and other officials said.

To read more, visit:  http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2011/12/30/us-aims-for-2012-talks-with-taliban-after-hiatus/

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