US wants 2012 talks for Taliban political office -

US wants 2012 talks for Taliban political office

WASHINGTON (AP) -- U.S. and Afghan officials say the Obama administration hopes to restore momentum this spring to U.S. talks with the Taliban insurgency that had reached a critical point before falling apart this month.

The officials told The Associated Press that talks and two key trust-building initiatives with the Taliban are on hold because of objections from Afghan President Hamid Karzai (HAH'-mihd KAR'-zeye).

Those measures were a Taliban headquarters office and the release from the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, of approximately five Afghan prisoners considered affiliated with the Taliban.

A U.S. official says one goal of renewed talks would be to identify cease-fire zones that could be used as a stepping-stone toward a full peace agreement. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the talks are sensitive.

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