Talks with Taliban OK, London says

June 20, 2011 at 11:43 AM
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LONDON, June 20 (UPI) -- Exploratory talks with elements with the Taliban in Afghanistan are in line with international expectations, a British government minister said.

Afghan officials during the weekend confirmed that Washington was trying to court certain members of the Taliban in Afghanistan as part of a reconciliation and reintegration process.

British Middle East and North African Minister Alistair Burt said in a statement the revelation was "entirely in line" with the expectations from the Afghan and international community.

"We've long-supported Afghan led efforts to reconcile and reintegrate members of the insurgency on the terms of the Afghan government which is to renounce violence, cut links with terrorist groups and accept the constitution," he said.

The U.N. Security Council last week voted to split sanctions imposed on al-Qaida and the Taliban. Both were included under Resolution 1267, passed in 1999 when the Taliban controlled more than 80 percent of Afghanistan.

The Security Council said the sanctions list for al-Qaida would include only names of "those individuals, groups, undertakings and entities associated with al-Qaida."

Kabul in May said it could potentially integrate thousands of militiamen into the political process with the help of the $250 million funding by the international community.

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