Cumberland Times-News

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June 18, 2013

U.S., Taliban to start talks on ending 12-year conflict

Process won’t be quick or easy, says president

KABUL, Afghanistan — The Taliban and the U.S. said Tuesday they will hold talks on finding a political solution to ending nearly 12 years of war in Afghanistan, as the international coalition formally handed over control of the country’s security to the Afghan army and police.

The Taliban met a key U.S. demand by pledging not to use Afghanistan as a base to threaten other countries, although the Americans said they must also denounce al-Qaida.

But President Barack Obama cautioned that the process won’t be quick or easy.

Obama, who was attending the G-8 summit in Northern Ireland, praised Afghan President Hamid Karzai for taking a courageous step by sending representatives to discuss peace with the Taliban.

U.S. officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said U.S. representatives will begin formal meetings with the Taliban in Qatar in a few days.

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