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The Taliban, it seems, and the Afghan government are talking which might be a small step towards reconciliation.

Hamid Karzai, the Afghan president, has told Al Jazeera he has had face-to-face meetings with senior members of the Taliban. Previous discussions between the two sides have been largely informal and indirect.

The Taliban, however, are denying ever having talked to the government. In public at least, they insist they will not hold any negotiations, nor agree to a ceasefire until foreign troops leave Afghanistan.

Since being overthrown in 2001, the Taliban has been fighting the US-backed Afghan government as well as Nato and allied forces.

Keen to end this long war, Karzai has set up a peace council to facilitate talks with the Taliban. And the US has vowed to support these negotiations as long as the Taliban meet certain conditions, so-called "red lines".
 
So, could Taliban be a peace partner in Afghanistan? And at what price?
 
Inside Story, with presenter Laura Kyle, discusses with Mullah Abdul-Salam Zaeef, the former Taliban ambassador to Pakistan, Haroun Mir, the deputy director of Afghanistan's Centre for Research and Policy Studies, and Richard Weitz, the director of the Centre for Political-Military Analysis at Hudson Institute.

This episode of Inside Story aired from Friday, October 15, 2010.

Source: Al Jazeera