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US commits to Afghan Taliban talks

Source BBC News@

Smoke rises from near entrance to presidential palace in Kabul (25 June 2013)Smoke could be seen rising from the compound after the attack

US and Afghan officials say they are committed to talks with the Taliban, despite an assault on a CIA station and government buildings on Monday.

The White House said President Barack Obama and counterpart Hamid Karzai had spoken following the attack, and had "reaffirmed" their commitment.

Taliban militants launched the attack with gunfire and bombs early on Monday.

Security forces repelled them, but four insurgents and three security guards were killed.

Guards from the presidential palace, defence ministry and personnel from the CIA station exchanged fire with the militants, in one of the most secure areas of Kabul.

Recent Kabul attacks

  • 9 March: A suicide bomb attack on the Afghan defence ministry kills nine

  • 16 May: At least 15 are killed and dozens wounded in a suicide bomb attack on a military convoy in the capital

  • 24 May: A Nepali soldier is killed as well as an off-duty policeman as militants battle security forces in the city centre

  • 10 June: Seven insurgents, including suicide bombers, lay siege to the main airport for four hours before they are killed

  • 11 June: Suicide bomb attack kills at least 16 people and injures more than 40 outside the Supreme Court.

  • 18 June: Three killed as bomb targets prominent politician Haji Mohammad Mohaqiq

Mr Karzai was in the palace at the time, but the target appears to have been the nearby Ariana hotel, which houses a CIA station.

Analysts say the Afghan Taliban have showed no sign of abating their assault on security targets, despite last week's announcement that they had set up an office in Doha in the Gulf state of Qatar for peace talks.

White House spokesman Jay Carney said in a statement that Mr Obama and Mr Karzai spoke over the phone on Tuesday, and were still committed to the planned talks.

"The leaders reaffirmed that an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace and reconciliation process is the surest way to end violence and ensure lasting stability in Afghanistan and the region," he said.

"They reiterated their support for an office in Doha for the purpose of negotiations between the High Peace Council and authorised representatives of the Taliban."

Mr Karzai objected to the Taliban office, saying the flag and nameplate initially erected at the building showed they were trying to portray themselves as a government-in-exile.

Officials said the High Peace Council, the Afghan government body set up to lead peace efforts, would not take part unless the talks process was "Afghan-led".

The attack near the presidential palace, in the central district of Shash Darak, began at about 06:30 local time (02:00 GMT).

The militants initially targeted the palace's eastern gate - a few hundred metres from the actual building - where dozens of journalists had gathered for a news conference with Mr Karzai scheduled for 09:00.

Last week, Afghan forces assumed security responsibility for the whole of the country for the first time since the Taliban government was ousted in 2001.

International troops will remain in Afghanistan until the end of 2014, providing military back-up when needed.

Kabul green zone

Đăng ký: Tieng Anh Vui

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