The United States has expressed readiness to initiate direct talks with the Taliban in an attempt to end a 17-year-old war in Afghanistan, a significant shift in American policy in the conflict-ridden country.
General John Nicholson, the top commander of US forces in Afghanistan, made the announcement on Monday, saying the move was intended to bring the Afghan government and the militants closer and culminate in formal peace negotiations to end the long-running war.
“Our Secretary of State, Mr. (Mike) Pompeo, has said that we, the United States, are ready to talk to the Taliban and discuss the role of international forces,” Nicholson said. “We hope that they realize this and that this will help to move the peace process forward.”
Earlier, the New York Times reported that President Donald Trump’s administration had ordered diplomats to seek direct talks with the Taliban in a bid to jump-start peace negotiations.