US holding talks with Taliban: Karzai

Although diplomats and officials say the talks are at a very early stage, Karzai's remarks highlight the increasing focus on finding a political settlement in Afghanistan as foreign combat troops prepare to pull out by 2014.

"Talks with the Taliban have started... the talks are going on well," Karzai said, addressing a conference in Kabul.

"Also foreign forces, especially the United States, are carrying out the talks themselves."
But the problems facing any efforts to end the conflict were thrown into sharp focus hours later when militants launched a coordinated attack on a police station in central Kabul, which sources said left at least two people dead.

Afghan attempts to pursue talks with the Taliban have been public for months.
Karzai last year set up a High Council for Peace to look at the issue, which visited neighbouring Pakistan -- seen as key to establishing communication channels -- last week.

But Western officials are more tight-lipped about any conciliatory moves from their side.
The US embassy in Kabul did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Karzai's remarks.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton earlier this year called on Taliban members to split from Al-Qaeda, renounce violence and accept the constitution so they can be re-integrated into society

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