Kabul considers Taliban talks

April 9, 2012 at 11:16 AM
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KABUL, Afghanistan, April 9 (UPI) -- Afghanistan's foreign minister said there are members of the Taliban who say it's time for a national reconciliation campaign.

Afghan Foreign Minister Zalmai Rassoul told al-Jazeera that stalled peace talks with the Taliban could be rekindled.

"We have contact with leaders of the Taliban who want peace. After all, 10 years of war have cost a lot for everybody, the Taliban also," he said. "And there are people among them who believe it's time now to reconcile and integrate in the Afghan society."

The United States has supported reconciliation with the Taliban so long as the movement renounces violence and honors the spirit of the Afghan constitution.

The Taliban said its members had met with U.S. officials in Qatar to discuss confidence building measures in Afghanistan.

It said the idea behind the Qatar office was to set up a "reference point for talks" with members of the international community. Its policy, the group added, was based on both political and military efforts to implement Islamic law in Afghanistan.

Anti-American sentiment in Afghanistan escalated following claims of the mishandling of the Koran and the shooting rampage allegedly by a U.S. soldier in Kandahar.

The Taliban, in a mid-March statement, said the "alternating and ever-changing position" from the United States "compelled" it to end reconciliation talks.

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