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Attack casts shadow on proposed peace talks

Taliban militants attacked key buildings near Afghanistan’s presidential palace

Written by Reuters | Kabul |
June 26, 2013 1:12:15 am

Taliban militants attacked key buildings near Afghanistan’s presidential palace and the CIA headquarters in Kabul,a brazen assault that could derail attempts for peace talks to end 12 years of war.

The Taliban,who have said they are willing to take part in talks with the US and Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s administration,said they launched the early morning assault,which triggered a 90-minute firefight.

A US envoy was in Kabul on Tuesday to try and smoothen the way forward for the stalled talks in the Gulf state of Qatar ahead of the pullout from Afghanistan of most of the NATO-led troops next year. He had been expected to meet reporters at the US Embassy,but the conference was called off.

Karzai was also due to attend,but whereabouts were unknown. A palace official said he was safe.

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Afghanistan US Ambassador Jim Cunningham condemned the attack and called on the Taliban to once again commit to the nascent peace process in Doha.

“We remain steadfast in supporting the Afghan government and people against the scourge of terrorism and the violence directed against them,” he said.

US envoy James Dobbins,arrived on Monday and met Karzai and the Afghan body intended to negotiate with the insurgents.

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