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U.S. shifting policy on Taliban talks

Afghan President Hamid Karzai speaks during a joint press conference with U.S. President George W. Bush in Camp David, Maryland, on August 6, 2007. Karzai's two-day visit to the Presidential mountain retreat included discussions of trouble at home, including a hostage crisis and a resurgent Taliban. (UPI Photo/Matthew Cavanaugh/POOL)
Afghan President Hamid Karzai speaks during a joint press conference with U.S. President George W. Bush in Camp David, Maryland, on August 6, 2007. Karzai's two-day visit to the Presidential mountain retreat included discussions of trouble at home, including a hostage crisis and a resurgent Taliban. (UPI Photo/Matthew Cavanaugh/POOL) | License Photo

KABUL, Afghanistan, Dec. 27 (UPI) -- The United States reportedly signaled support for secret talks with the Taliban in Afghanistan following the expulsion of two European diplomats.

The Financial Times reported that U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan William Wood said Thursday if Afghan officials approve, there is a "place for this type of conversation."

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The comment represents an apparent shift in policy since the United States has long said it would never negotiate with the Islamic militant group, the Times noted.

Wood said the two U.N. diplomats who were expelled for contacting the Taliban had done so "with absolutely the best of intentions." Wood said reconciliation with the Taliban can only be achieved if members accept the authority of the Karzai government.

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