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Obama, Karzai meet on Friday to talk Afghan peace

Obama, Karzai meet on Friday to talk Afghan peace

US President Barack Obama and his Afghan counterpar Hamid Karzai will discuss matters of war, including future American troop levels and Afghanistan's army , when they meet on Friday , but matters of peace may be the most delicate item on their long agenda.

After nearly 10 months in limbo, tentative reconciliation efforts involving Taliban insurgents, the Karzai government and other major Afghan factions have shown new signs of life, resurrecting tantalizing hopes for a negotiated end to decades of war.

Pakistan, which American and Afghan officials have long accused of backing the insurgents and meddling in Afghanistan, has recently signalled an apparent policy shift toward promoting its neighbour's stability as most US combat troops prepare to depart, top Pakistani and Afghan officials said.

In another potentially significant development, Taliban representatives met outside Paris last month with members of the Afghan High Peace Council — although not directly with members of the Karzai government, which they have long shunned.

US officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the developments are promising — but that major challenges remain to opening negotiations, let alone reaching an agreement on the war-torn country's political future.

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