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Afghan president supported start of U.S-Taliban talks - U.S. general

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Afghan president supported start of U.S-Taliban talks - U.S. general
FILE PHOTO: General Joseph Votel, the head of the U.S. military's Central Command, speaks aboard the USS New Orleans as it travels through the Strait of Hormuz July 11, 2016. REUTERS/Phil Stewart/File Photo   -   Copyright  Phil Stewart(Reuters)
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WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Afghan President Ashraf Ghani supported the initiation of peace talks between the United States and the Taliban despite his public concerns, a top U.S. general said on Thursday.

“It is my observation, from my close discussions with (U.S. special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad) that he is in fact consulting with President Ghani on a regular basis, keeping him well informed and that the actual initiation of these discussions was done with President Ghani’s knowledge and support,” U.S. Army General Joseph Votel, head of the U.S. Central Command, said during a House Armed Services Committee hearing.

(Reporting by Idrees Ali and Phil Stewart in Washington; Editing by James Dalgleish)

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