U.S. Accelerates Direct Negotiations with Taliban

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Context

According to media reports, US has speeded up direct negotiations with the Taliban, launched several months back. The administration hopes this will allow President Barack Obama to show progress has been made in the war on terror when he orders the start of troop pullout in July. Officials said that the members of Haqqani network, a faction of Afghan insurgents, based in North Waziristan in Pakistan whom the US considers particularly irreconcilable and brutal, have played no role in the talks.

It is interesting to note no mention of Turkey in these reports. Pakistan and Afghanistan both had recently promoted Turkey as a place where the Taliban reconciliation office could be located. The US reports instead mentions Qatar where this office could be situated. Nonetheless, such reports emanating from US are clearly meant to pressure Pakistan in foregoing its tacit support for Haqqani network and to decrease its influence in the Afghan reconciliation.

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