|Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai: Omar Sobhani/Reuters|
(Story reported by Sayed Salahuddin and Will Dunham for Reuters)
(Reuters) - Representatives of the Taliban and President Hamid Karzai's government have started secret talks to negotiate an end to the war in Afghanistan, the Washington Post reported on Tuesday, citing Afghan and Arab sources.
The sources, who were not named by the Post, were quoted as saying they believe the Taliban representatives are authorized to speak for the Quetta Shura, the Afghan Taliban organization based in Pakistan, and its leader, Mohammad Omar.
The sources quoted by the Post stressed that the current discussions are in the preliminary stages. The newspaper said the talks followed inconclusive meetings hosted by Saudi Arabia that wrapped up more than a year ago.
Karzai's spokesman Waheed Omer, speaking in Kabul, declined to confirm or deny the report of new meetings.
"There were contacts in the past and may now be direct or indirect ones. There have been regular contacts over the past two years," he said, when asked about the Washington Post story.
"There haven't been any substantive talks, there have been contacts only."
(Click here to read the full story on the Reuters website.)