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Afghanistan's Karzai in secret talks with Taleban: Report

Published on Feb 4, 2014 4:43 PM

KABUL (REUTERS) - Afghanistan's President Hamid Karzai has been holding secret talks with Taleban officials in the hope of persuading them to make peace with his government, the New York Times reported on Tuesday, citing unnamed Afghan and Western officials.

Mr Karzai's spokesman could not reached for comment. But the Times, in its report, said the spokesman had confirmed contact had been made and described the past two months as positive.

Officials, however, told the paper the Taleban-initiated talks had been fruitless so far, although they may help explain Mr Karzai's mounting public hostility to Washington.

In November - around the same time the secret talks reportedly began - Mr Karzai announced his intention to avoid signing a bilateral security deal with the United States until after a presidential election in April. Mr Karzai has served two terms and cannot run again.

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