The commander of US and NATO troops in Afghanistan says his forces facilitated a senior Taliban commander’s visit to Kabul to hold talks with the Afghan government.
Speaking in London, US General David Petraeus said the move was part of US and NATO support for President Karzai’s reconciliation talks with the Taliban.
“We do facilitate that, given that needless to say it would not be the easiest of tasks for a senior Taliban commander to enter Afghanistan and make his way to Kabul – if ISAF (the Nato-led security mission) were not… aware of it and therefore allows it to take place,” he said.
Recently the Afghan president set up a special council to start a dialogue with the Taliban and confirmed that unofficial contacts had been going on for some time.
But he stressed that Kabul would fight groups like Al-Qaeda.
General Petraeus said several “very senior” Taliban leaders had reached out to the Afghan government and other countries engaged in Afghanistan. But he said the discussions were preliminary and did not amount to negotiations.
Pakistan has also said it is willing to assist talks.