Today's Coming Crisis Movie

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Robert Gates confirms US-Taliban talks in Afghanistan

Outgoing US Defence Secretary Robert Gates has confirmed that the US is holding "outreach" talks with members of the Taliban in Afghanistan.

Mr Gates said talks were "preliminary" but that a political solution was the way "most of these wars end".

It is the first time the US has acknowledged such contact and comes a day after Afghan President Hamid Karzai said peace talks had started.

The US is due to start withdrawing its 97,000 troops from Afghanistan in July.

It aims to gradually hand over all security operations to Afghan security forces by 2014.

"There's been outreach on the part of a number of countries, including the United States," Mr Gates told CNN., without naming other countries involved.

"I would say that these contacts are very preliminary.

"My own view is that real reconciliation talks are not likely to be able to make any substantive headway until at least this winter." (read more)