World Bulletin / News Desk
The Afghan Taliban and the United States have been holding talks in the Gulf Arab state of Qatar, Afghan President Hamid Karzai said on Sunday.
The Taliban suspended the talks one year ago, blaming "shaky, erratic and vague" U.S. statements.
"Senior leaders of the Taliban and the Americans are engaged in talks in the Gulf state on a daily basis," Karzai told a gathering to mark International Women's Day.
But the Taliban spokesman in Afghanistan, Zabihullah Mujahid, denied that negotiations with the United States had resumed and said no progress had been made since they were suspended.
"The Taliban strongly rejects Karzai's comments," he said.
U.S. officials could not be immediately reached for comment.
U.S. diplomats have been seeking to broaden exploratory talks with the Taliban that began clandestinely in Germany in late 2010 after the Taliban offered to open a representative office in Qatar.
U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is in Afghanistan to visit U.S. troops.
Hagel, who arrived on Friday for his first trip abroad as defense secretary, is also due to hold talks with Karzai.
Hagel's visit also coincides with the passing of a deadline imposed by Karzai for U.S. special forces to leave the province of Wardak, after Karzai accused them of overseeing torture and killings in the area.
U.S. forces have denied involvement in any abuses and it was not clear if they were leaving Wardak by the deadline.
Regional power Pakistan indicated a few moths ago that it would support the peace process by releasing Afghan Taliban detainees who may help promote the peace process.
But there have been no tangible signs the move advanced reconciliation.Last Mod: 10 Mart 2013, 09:42