Karzai says US, Taliban have revived reconciliation talks in Qatar

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KABUL: The Afghan Taliban and the United States have been holding talks in Qatar, Afghan President Hamid Karzai said on Sunday, but the militant group and Washington denied they had resumed dialogue.
The Taliban suspended the talks one year ago, blaming “shaky, erratic and vague” US statements.
“Senior leaders of the Taliban and the Americans are engaged in talks in the Gulf state on a daily basis,” Karzai told a gathering to mark the International Women’s Day.
The US government has said it remained committed to political reconciliation involving talks with the Taliban but progress would require agreement between the Afghan government and the insurgents.
“This is simply incorrect,” said a US official, who declined to be identified, when asked about Karzai’s remarks. “We continue to support an Afghan-led process of political reconciliation.”
The Taliban spokesman in Afghanistan, Zabihullah Mujahid, also denied that negotiations with the United States had resumed and said no progress had been made since they were suspended.
“The Taliban strongly rejects Karzai’s comments,” he said.
The Kabul government has been pushing hard to get the Taliban to the negotiating table before most US-led Nato combat troops withdraw by the end of 2014.

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