Current and former US officials tell The Associated Press that reclusive Taliban leader Mullah Mohammed Omar wrote to President Barack Obama last year indicating an interest in talks key to ending the war in Afghanistan.
The previously undisclosed communication was considered authentic by people who saw it,but sceptical administration officials say they cannot determine if it actually came from Omar.
The unsigned letter was passed through a Taliban intermediary in July. An administration official says it represented views consistent with what Taliban emissaries had been telling U.S. officials.
The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because the letter and its contents are part of sensitive diplomacy.
A direct message from Omar could be a strong signal that the Taliban movement is interested in negotiation at the highest levels.