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Afghanistan: Tense times for delicate US-Taliban talks - BBC

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The US and NATO have acknowledged that they cannot withdraw successfully from Afghanistan, or effect a transition to Afghan forces by 2014, without an end to the civil war and a political settlement between the Afghan government and the Taliban. Such an agreement must also include an understanding with the neighbours of Afghanistan and other countries in the region. For this reason, and following President Barack Obama's plan for a limited withdrawal of 33,000 US troops by September 2012, the on-going talks between the Americans and the Taliban have become centre stage - even as the war intensifies and the Taliban retain their safe havens in Pakistan. There have been three rounds of direct talks between the Americans and the Taliban since last November.

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