American agents substantiate January 8 meeting in Pakistani city of Quetta.
A UN official, who wishes to remain anonymous, has confirmed that Kai Eide – the Norwegian head of the UN’s Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) – has been engaged in secret talks with members of the Taliban’s leadership council.
According to Reuters, the UN official confirms that it was regional commanders from the Taliban’s Quetta Shura themselves who took the initiative to hold talks about discussing the possibility of laying down their arms.
“They requested a meeting to talk about talks. They want protection, to be able to come out in public. They don’t want to vanish into places like Bagram,” the official told Reuters, saying the talks were the first of their kind.
Meanwhile, Jonas Gahr Støre, Norway’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, has confirmed the country will not be contributing to the USD 500 million (approximately three billion kroner) fund set aside by the world community to persuade the Taliban to switch sides in Afghanistan.
“We’ve already made contributions to two other funds; the police and the army,” he told NRK at today’s major London conference on Afghanistan.
Støre did, however, confirm Norway’s support for President Hamid Karzai’s programme for reintegrating the Taliban back into the community.
No follow-up to the talks has been agreed as yet.
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