[QODLink]
Central & South Asia
Nato: Taliban talks to move slowly
Nato's top civilian official in Afghanistan says talks with armed group are still at an "embryonic" stage.
Last Modified: 29 Sep 2010 14:42 GMT
Sedwill and General David Petraeus have both said "senior" Taliban officials have talked with Karzai [EPA]

Reconciliation talks with the Taliban are still at an "embryonic" stage, according to Nato's top civilian official in Afghanistan.

Mark Sedwill praised the steps taken by Hamid Karzai, the Afghan president, to reach out to insurgents, calling them a "genuine effort". He also suggested that senior members of the Taliban have shown a willingness to talk as well.

"There are significant leaders there who seem to be weary of the fight and seem to be willing to contemplate a future within the mainstream," Sedwill told reporters in Washington.

But Sedwill also cautioned that the Taliban is "unlikely... to enter into a major political negotiation," and said talks with the insurgency would be slow.

"Essentially, we're at the embryonic stage," he said. "The channels of communication are open. I wouldn't, at this stage, say that we've reached the point of real negotiation."

Sedwill did not identify any senior Taliban members who have reached out to the government.

'Senior level talks'

General David Petraeus, the commander of US and Nato forces in Afghanistan, has also claimed recently that the Taliban is interested in reconciliation. He said earlier this month that talks have occurred "at a very senior level".

Afghan officials have been more hesitant in their descriptions: Waheed Omer, a spokesman for Karzai, said earlier this week that the Taliban figures involved in talks "can't be characterised as the movement's senior leaders".

Karzai on Monday appointed a high-level commission to lead talks with insurgent groups. The 68-member body includes a number of former warlords, including Abdul Rab Rasoul Sayyaf and Ismail Khan. Only eight of its members are women, and large swaths of Afghan civil society were excluded.

Omer said the council would "broker peace through negotiation and reconciliation. It was the product of the "peace jirga" held in Kabul in June, a conference at which Afghan political and religious leaders agreed to start a dialogue with armed groups.

Source:
Agencies
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
Italy struggles to deal with growing flood of migrants willing to risk their lives to reach the nearest European shores.
Israel's Operation Protective Edge is the third major offensive on the Gaza Strip in six years.
Muslims and Arabs in the US say they face discrimination in many areas of life, 13 years after the 9/11 attacks.
At one UN site alone, approximately four children below the age of five are dying each day.
Featured
The new military government has issued warnings that it will soon start to clampdown on immigration offenders.
As Snowden awaits Russian visa renewal, the world mulls role of NSA and expects more revelations from document trove.
A handful of agencies that provide tours to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea say business is growing.
A political power struggle masquerading as religious strife grips Nigeria - with mixed-faith couples paying the price.
The current surge in undocumented child migrants from Central America has galvanized US anti-immigration groups.
join our mailing list