US, Afghanistan in talks with Taliban

AddThis

Water mixed with blood pours in a steady stream following a suicide bomb attack at the entrance to a police station in Kabul, Afghanistan on Saturday.

Photo Credit: The Associated Press

KABUL, Afghanistan — President Hamid Karzai said Saturday that Afghanistan and the United States are engaged in peace talks with the Taliban, even as suicide bombers stormed a police station near the presidential palace, killing at least two police officers.

The brazen attack in the heart of Kabul’s government district provided a sharp counterpoint to Karzai’s announcement that the U.S. and Afghan government are in talks with the Taliban, the first official confirmation of such discussions. The violence also underscored the difficulty facing possible negotiated settlement to the decade-long war.

Men dressed in Afghan army uniforms stormed the police station near the presidential palace and opened fire on officers as they tried to enter the building, said Mohammed Honayon, an eyewitness.

Kabul Police Chief Gen. Mohammad Ayub Salangi said two police officers had been killed and one injured.

Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid claimed responsibility for the attack, saying three suicide bombers attacked the police training center.

The assault occurred shortly after Karzai, who is a strong proponent of peace discussions, announced during a speech at the presidential palace that his government and the U.S. have begun preliminary negotiations with the Taliban aimed at ending the conflict.

“In the course of this year, there have been peace talks with the Taliban and our own countrymen,” Karzai said. “Peace talks have started with them already and it is going well.

Foreign militaries, especially the United States of America, are going ahead with these negotiations.”

Karzai said some of the Taliban emissaries that have met with members of the peace council he set up were only representing themselves, while others were speaking for the
broader movement.