Gates confirms talks with Taliban
from The Washington Times
Outgoing Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates confirmed that the U.S. State Department is talking directly with the Taliban, but he poured cold water on the possibility that the talks would lead to a quick end to the war in Afghanistan. The talks - described by Mr. Gates on CNN's "State of the Union" program as "very preliminary" - were first made public by Afghan President Hamid Karzai. They come at a time of rising calls among Republicans for a speedier U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, calls that prompted further political debate on the weekend's U.S. political talk shows.
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