Report: Karzai "plans talks with Taliban"

Taliban fighters look on after they joined Afghan government forces during a ceremony in Herat on January 5, 2012. Aref Karimi/AFP/Getty Images

Taliban fighters look on after they joined Afghan government forces during a ceremony in Herat on January 5, 2012.
Aref Karimi/AFP/Getty Images

While the West struggles with the questions of if and how to enter into negotiations with the Taliban in Afghanistan, that country's leaders are not waiting around for an answer.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai now plans to hold direct talks with Taliban leaders in Saudi Arabia in an effort to jump start peace talks, the BBC reports.

Taliban leaders had already announced plans to open an office in Qatar as part of their expressed willingness to engage in direct peace talks with the U.S.

Afghan leaders have accused both Qatar and the U.S. of attempting to negotiate with the Taliban without consulting them fully first, and the move to hold talks in Saudi Arabia appears to be an attempt to place Karzai's government at the center of any future negotiations, The Wall Street Journal reports.

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Karzai has previously expressed fears that the U.S. and Qatar would independently broker a deal with the Taliban and expect his government to abide by it.

There is much disagreement in the U.S. government over the value of attempting to hold direct talks with the Taliban. Some feel it is the surest road to an end for the 11-year-old conflict in Afghanistan, as Taliban insurgents are the cause or target of most of the violence there. Many others suggest the Taliban could use the talks to grow their legitimacy and therefore their staying power, and that they could use the talks to stall for time as they regroup and grow stronger in the fight.

  • Joshua Norman

    Joshua Norman is a Senior Editor at CBSNews.com.

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