Odds of peace talks with Taliban `difficult and long`: US

The US today said the prisoners swap deal with the Taliban might have opened up political doors but the odds of peace talks with banned group were "difficult" and "long".

Washington: The US today said the prisoners swap deal with the Taliban might have opened up political doors but the odds of peace talks with banned group were "difficult" and "long".

"The goal of this recent effort was to secure the release of Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl. That was achieved. If that paves the way, if that builds a little trust and creates some space to enhance or restart negotiations between the Taliban and the Afghan government and there is a role for the US and our other coalition partners to play in that, then we welcome that opportunity, and we`ll certainly consider it," White House Deputy Press Secretary Josh Earnest, told reporters.
Responding to questions, Earnest said common sense does indicate that because there is an ongoing armed conflict in Afghanistan, there is an incentive for both sides to try to resolve their differences.
"Whether they can do that remains to be seen. The odds of that are difficult and long," he said.

"And if there is a process that has begun here, it will be a painstaking one and not one that`s resolved overnight. But if we can build some trust and this does create an opportunity for more fruitful conversations, so be it," Earnest said.

"But the ultimate goal here was to fulfil a promise that every commander in chief, going back to George Washington, has made to every single American who`s put on the uniform of the United States military, which is not to leave them behind," he said.

Right now the focus of the White House is on making sure that Sergeant Bergdahl gets the kind of medical treatment that he needs after five years in Taliban captivity, Earnest said.
"There will be a time and a place for a review to be conducted about the circumstances of his disappearance," he noted.

Earnest said one cannot reach out at a definite conclusion on talks with the Taliban so soon.

"The question, though, is an open one, which is, does this pave the way for more fruitful talks? And what I would say to that is it`s too early to tell. You can`t reach a conclusion about that kind of thing within just a few days. This is the kind of thing that you can ascertain over a period of time," the White House Press Secretary said.

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