Citing unnamed Afghan and Western officials, the New York Times reported exclusively today (February 4, 2014) that Afghanistan's President Hamid Karzai has been holding secret talks with Taliban officials in the hope of persuading them to make peace with the government, according to the Reuters website.
The NY Times -- in its report -- said a Karzai spokesman confirmed contact had been made with the Taliban and described the past two months as positive.
Officials, however, told the paper the Taliban-initiated peace talks have been fruitless so far, although they may help explain Karzai's mounting public hostility to Washington.
Last November -- around the same time the secret talks reportedly began -- Karzai announced his intention to avoid signing a bilateral security deal with the United States until after a presidential election in April. Karzai has served two terms as president of Afghanistan and cannot run again.