United Nations: UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says the Taliban may be willing to hold talks with the Afghan government.
Ban cited two statements from the Taliban prompted by a recent UN report on civilian casualties as "perhaps indicating a willingness to engage".
"I encourage a meaningful dialogue to reduce this intolerable, continuing death toll and to protect civilians," the UN chief told the Security Council today.
According to a recent UN report, 2,754 Afghan civilians were killed in 2012, down 12 per cent from 3,131 in 2011.
The UN said the Taliban and other insurgents were responsible for 81 per cent of the civilian deaths and injuries last year.
Ban spoke shortly before the council voted unanimously to extend the mandate of the UN`s political mission in Afghanistan until March 19, 2014.