Don’t expect too much from secret ‘Taliban-Afghan’ talks: Holbrooke

Holbrooke clarifies the US had no involvement in Taliban-Afghan govt talks.

Berlin: The United States welcomes the Afghan reconciliation efforts but believes that the recent reports about secret talks between the Taliban and the Afghan government are exaggerated, Richard Holbrooke, US Special Representative for Pakistan and Afghanistan, has said.

Holbrooke said that Afghan President Hamid Karzai had made it clear that his government had been in contact with people in the Taliban on a continuing basis, The News reported.

The US official, however, warned against over-emphasising these contacts.

"The reports greatly exceed the reality," he told a group of journalists and German political leaders, adding, "It`s the press `flavour of the month` to write about this subject."

Holbrooke also clarified that the US had no involvement in the Taliban-Afghan government talks.

"The facts are, as President Karzai stated in a CNN interview to be broadcast tonight, what he said was quite clear there: that they`ve been in contact with people with the Taliban on a continuing basis,” he stated.

"We`re not involved in those talks but we support them provided they follow the `red lines` that are absolutely critical because we have a strategic interest here," he added.

Holbrooke described the ``red lines`` as "that anyone deciding to rejoin the political system in Afghanistan has to renounce al Qaeda, lay down their arms and participate in the Constitution with particular attention to role of minorities and women.”

"If people do that, there`s room for them. Thousands of people rallied to the government since 2002 under those provisions. And the door is open for that. And that`s what President Karzai is working on- with our support," Holbrooke added.


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