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Members of Taliban ready to talk: Afghan president


08:18, March 26, 2013

KABUL, March 25 (Xinhua) -- Afghan President Hamid Karzai Monday said that certain members of Taliban were ready to hold peace talks with the government and its peace council.

"We know the Taliban wants to talk to the Afghan government and the Afghan High Peace Council," Karzai told reporters at a joint press conference with the visiting U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.

The Afghan leader said he will leave for an official trip to the Gulf state of Qatar in a couple of days, to hold talks with Qatari leaders over opening the Taliban's liaison office there.

Kerry, who arrived earlier in the day for a surprised visit to the war-hit country, said that he and Karzai share the same views over the peace talks with the Taliban and that there was no disagreement between the two countries over the issue.

Karzai and other Afghan leaders have repeatedly offered peace talks with the Taliban. However, the insurgent group has categorically rejected the offer, saying there will be no talks until foreign troops leave the country.

The Afghan leader said that the Pakistan's role was crucial in peace talks, saying "without the participation of Pakistan we will not see a fruitful" results from the peace process.

However, he reiterated that Afghanistan will not allow the developments gained over the past decade to be reversed in any peace efforts.

Praising Afghanistan's efforts for holding a free, fair and inclusive presidential election to be held next year, the top U.S. diplomat said the U.S. will continue to support Afghanistan even after majority of foreign combat troops leave the country by the end of 2014.

Earlier Monday, Kerry and Karzai discussed a number of issues including war on terror and the security transition from U.S. and NATO troops to Afghan forces as well as the proposed Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) between Kabul and Washington.

Also earlier Monday, the U.S. military handed over a key U.S.- run detention center to Afghan army, putting an end to a source of tension between Kabul and its main ally Washington.

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