“No indication” that Taliban leadership is interested in Afghan peace talks: Holbrooke

Saturday, October 30, 2010

WASHINGTON - The Taliban leaders in Afghanistan have shown no interest so far in the Afghan reconciliation talks to end the war, despite an intensified and increasingly effective NATO military offensive in the region, a senior Obama administration official has said.

US Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan Richard Holbrooke said that the recent news reports of extensive discussions between Afghan government officials and senior Taliban commanders were off base, as there had been no such talks or discussions, let alone negotiations, the Daily Times reported.

Individuals who have fought alongside the Taliban- apparently not Taliban leaders themselves- have been reaching out, “picking up the phone, metaphorically or literally,” and saying, “I’ve had enough of this war. I’d like to talk to you,” he said.

The envoy mentioned no names but said that those who were making such contacts were “provincial leaders, individual commanders.”

Speaking to reporters, Holbrooke said that those individuals were “feeling the pressure” from a stepped-up offensive by NATO forces.

“This is not, however, the kind of high-level talks which all of you are writing and speculating about,” he said.

“And those are not taking place; they’re just being written about. And there’s a great confusion in the readers’ minds.

There’s less here than meets the eye. There’s no indication at this point that the Taliban leadership wishes to change its course,” he added. (ANI)

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