US officials said their 10-month-long secret talks with Afghanistan's Taliban to reach a peace deal have reached a critical juncture, Reuters reported.
“As part of the accelerating, high-stakes diplomacy, Reuters has learned, the United States is considering the transfer of an unspecified number of Taliban prisoners from the Guantanamo Bay military prison into Afghan government custody,” the report said.
The senior officials who told Reuters of the secret effort all spoke on the condition of anonymity.
With US troops scheduled to pull out of Afghanistan in 2014, there is much to be done and much to lose if the diplomatic effort turns sour.
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The decade-long US occupation in Afghanistan has brought political stability, but failed in providing “individual personal security” to civilians in the country, Afghan President Hamid Karzai said Sunday.
The secret talks have been seen as an attempt to establish peace and order in the country. Karzai conceded he is open to having talks with the Taliban only if the group establishes a verifiable authorized representative, according to the AFP.
A previous attempt to establish reconciliation fell apart when a supposed Taliban envoy turned out to be a fake.
"We have now clearly said that we will welcome a Taliban address, but that address must have the clarity that this representative is authorized and is representing the Taliban movement as we see it," said Karzai.
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The Taliban was toppled in Afghanistan after the September 11 attacks but still operates today in the country in addition to the mountainous region of northwest Pakistan.
Pakistan has insisted it play a dominant role in the US-Taliban peace talks. The move has raised suspicions considering Pakistan's strong link with the militant group.