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Talks with Taliban getting started

KABUL, Afghanistan, Oct. 14 (UPI) -- Discussions between the Afghan government and the Taliban have just started and may go nowhere, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Thursday.

Clinton and Defense Secretary Robert Gates were cautiously optimistic about the process, Voice of America reported. They discussed Afghanistan at a NATO meeting in Brussels that was closed to the media.

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"The Taliban is under pressure everywhere in Afghanistan. And I really do believe the stronger the military pressure, the better the chances for the reconciliation process," NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen told reporters.

In Afghanistan, former President Burhanuddin Rabbani, who heads the peace council, told reporters the government of President Hamid Karzai has reached out to the Taliban through mediators, The New York Times said. Rabbani said the Taliban want to talk and negotiations now have firm backing.

"Today there is a special agenda that exists here," he said. "Today the government and the international community are here with us."

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