US hails talks between Kabul, Taliban

Published Dec 23, 2012 12:06am

The Taliban, Gulbadin Hekmatyar’s(above) radical Hizb-i-Islami and Afghan political opposition groups inside the country also sent their representatives to the talks.— File Photo by Reuters

WASHINGTON: The United States has welcomed talks between Afghan militants and government representatives, hoping that the move would help restore peace and stability to Afghanistan.

“The United States continues to support an Afghan-led peace process. We continue to support Afghans sitting down with other Afghans in pursuit of that goal,” US State Department’s deputy spokesman Patrick Ventrell told a briefing in Washington.

The Paris meeting, held on Thursday and Friday, marked the first ever face-to-face talks between the rivals since 2001 when the United States unseated the Taliban regime in Kabul and helped set up the Karzai government with support from the Northern Alliance.

The Paris conference, hosted by a French think tank, Foundation for Strategic Research, brought together representatives from the Afghan government, the Northern Alliance and various armed militant groups.

The Taliban, Gulbadin Hekmatyar’s radical Hizb-i-Islami and Afghan political opposition groups inside the country also sent their representatives to the talks.

Mr Ventrell told the briefing that although the United States did not attend the meeting, “clearly we’ve been in support of Afghans talking to Afghans about their future.”

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