6 Oct 2010

Taliban, Afghan govt holding talks to end war - report

7:02 pm on 6 October 2010

High-level Taliban and Afghan government representatives have started secret negotiations to end the nine-year war in Afghanistan, a US newspaper is reporting.

The Washington Post quoted unnamed Afghan and Arab sources as saying they believe the Taliban representatives are authorised to speak for Quetta Shura and its leader Mohammad Omar.

The Quetta Shura is the remains of the Afghan Taliban government overthrown and driven into Pakistan by the US invasion of Afghanistan in 2001, Reuters reports.

The newspaper reported that Quetta Shura has insisted publicly that negotiations are impossible until foreign troops withdraw from Afghanistan.

However, it said the group has begun discussing a broad agreement that would include participation of some Taliban figures in Afghanistan's government and the withdrawal of American and NATO troops on an agreed timeline.

A spokesperson for Afghanistan president Hamid Karzai declined to confirm or deny the report of new meetings.