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Prospects for peace in Afghanistan?

Making peace with the Taliban. On Wednesday Afghan President Hamid Karzai gave his blessing to U.S. efforts to talk to the Taliban. Karzai's office released a statement saying that the talks could save Afghanistan from quote "conflict, conspiracy and the killings of innocent people" Senior U.S. officials told Reuters last month that, after 10 months, talks with the Taliban had reached a critical juncture and they would soon know if a breakthrough was possible. Now the group plans to open an office in Qatar. Brigadier General Carsten Jacobson, is the spokesman for the International Security Assistance Force or ISAF. (SOUNDBITE) (English) BRIGADIER GENERAL CARSTEN JACOBSON , SAYING: "Well, ISAF is aware of the fact that victory over the insurgency will not be won out on the battlefield alone. At the end of the day we do need reconciliation At the end we need a political outcome to end the insurgency. So, USAf will support anything that has to be done to come to a political conclusion as well as continuing the military campaign." He says while an agreement with the Taliban leadership may not end the violence it will make it containable. (SOUNDBITE) (English) BRIGADIER GENERAL CARSTEN JACOBSON , SAYING: "They will be the ones who have to call a halt to the shots. If that happens, there will still be violence in parts but it will become very easily controllable. So, therefore we are at a corner where [political negations, where actions on the side of the Taliban might lead to an end of the overall violence. But this is a process, this is a process that we have to go through. The role that ISAF has to play in this is a very clear military campaign continuous against the insurgency, relentless in the persist of insurgence and bring security and stability to more and more regions in Afghanistan," The call for a permanent international address for the Taliban came after a series of failed efforts towards talks by Afghans and their Western allies, some of them with interlocutors who turned out to be frauds. As part of the accelerating, high-stakes diplomacy, the United States is considering the transfer of several high-profile Taliban prisoners from Guantanamo Bay into Afghan custody. Deborah Lutterbeck, Reuters.

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